The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said the continued detention of a former Aide-de-Camp to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Ojogbane Adegbe, is on the directive of the Nigerian Army.
The anti-graft agency also denied serving on him a summons, inviting him from the United Kingdom, where he had been attending a military course after serving as the President’s ADC till May 29, 2015.
This is contained in a counter-affidavit, which the commission filed to oppose the suit filed by Adegbe, demanding N100m compensation from then EFCC for alleged unlawful detention.
Justice Yusuf Halilu of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Jabi, Abuja, entertained arguments for and against Adegbe’s application on Thursday and fixed March 1 for judgment.
Adegbe has been in EFCC custody since February 11 in relation to investigations into alleged fraud in the procurement of arms meant to fight terror group, Boko Haram, in the North-East.
But one of EFCC’s lawyers, Mr. Francis Jirbo, who deposed to the commission’s counter-affidavit, opposing the suit, stated that the anti-graft agency never prompted the Army to summon Adegbe from the UK for the investigation.
The counter-affidavit states, “In further response to the paragraph six of the affidavit in support of the applicant’s (Adegbe’s) application, the respondent (the EFCC) states that it has never invited the applicant for any investigation.
“The true position is that it was his office, the Nigerian Army, that brought him to the office of the respondent, in furtherance of its investigation into detected financial crimes committed in the arms procurement involving the applicant.
“That contrary to the depositions contained in paragraph seven of the affidavit in support of the applicant’s application, the respondent has never caused the Nigerian Army to invite the applicant from anywhere.
“That contrary to the depositions contained in paragraph 12 of the affidavit in support of the applicant’s application, the respondent states that the applicant is in custody at the instance of his employee, the Nigerian Army.”
Jirbo added that the directive to investigate Adegbe followed the activities of the committee set up by the Federal Government in October 2015.
He said the committee “comprising the military, the Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police, EFCC and other paramilitary and civil agencies” were given the mandate “to look into the arms procurement to execute the war against insurgency in the North-East part of the country.”
He added that there was a directive by the Federal Government to “prosecute persons found culpable in a law court.”
Jirbo explained that Adegbe was brought to the commission’s office by a serving military officer on the directives of the military on February 11, 2016.
He added, “That on or about the February 11, 2016, the applicant was brought to the office of the respondent by a serving military officer on the directives of the Military Committee on Arms Procurement, regarding the investigation of the committee as it concerns the applicant’s role in the arms procurement, particularly in relation to infraction of the service rules on arms procurement.
“That contrary to the depositions contained in paragraph six of the affidavit in support of the applicant’s application, the respondent has never undertaken investigation of former administration so to speak.”
The Jonathan’s ex-ADC stated in his suit that he had been in EFCC detention since February 11, 2016 without being charged with any offence.
The suit, with number CV/995/16, was filed by the plaintiff through his counsel, Ogwu Onoja (SAN), on February 17, 2016.
The plaintiff contended in his suit that by his continued detention, the EFCC had violated his right to personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed under sections 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
He also argued that the EFCC’s action violated Articles 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
The plaintiff said he was summoned by the Army authorities from the United Kingdom where he had been attending a military course to face the EFCC interrogation
His brother, Daniel Adegbe, who deposed to an affidavit in support of the suit, stated that the EFCC had continued to detain the ex-President’s ADC despite the fact that the anti-graft agency had obtained his statement on the day he was arrested.
Justice Halilu fixed March 1 for judgment after Adegbe’s lawyer, Onoja, and EFCC’s counsel, Benda Musu, adopted their addresses.
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