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You Must Face Trial Over Corruption Allegation – Court to Stella Oduah

Stella Oduah
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A Federal High Court in Abuja has declined former Aviation Minister Mrs. Stella Oduah’s request to stop the Federal Government from investigating her tenure between 2011 and 2015 and prosecuting her.

Justice Adamu Kafarati who gave the ruling yesterday, held that the fundamental right enforcement suit by Mrs. Oduah lacked merit and bereft of any cause of action.

Justice Kafarati upheld the objection raised by the respondents, to the effect that the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to hear the case, which subject matter was outside the ambit of Chapter Four of the Constitution.

In the suit, the former aviation mnister (now a senator from Anambra State), urged the court to declare illegal the alleged plot by the respondents to arrest, investigate and prosecute her in relation to her activities while in office, particularly the controversial two amoured vehicles purchased.

The purchase of the bullet proof vehicles by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) while Oduah was in office attracted public criticism over allegation that the prices were inflated.

Mrs Oduah argued that the criminal allegations relating to her tenure as minister had been investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and House of Representatives’ Committee on Aviation, which both absolved her of any wrong doing.

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She urged the court to declare that, having earlier been exonerated, any further investigation, arrest, harassment and prosecution of her person in relation to the same issue, amounted to the invasion of her fundamental right to personal liberty, freedom of movement and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty.

She prayed for an order prohibiting the respondents from inviting, arresting, otherwise harassing or prosecuting her over the matter.

Respondents in the case were the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), EFCC, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

Justice Kafarati, in upholding the preliminary objection by the AGF and the IGP, agreed with them that Mrs Oduah could not come under the fundamental rights procedure to seek the reliefs she sought.

He said the subject matter of the case was not a fundamental rights issue.

The judge agreed that the former minister cannot seek to restrain statutory bodies from performing their statutory responsibilities through a fundamental rights enforcement application.

He held that the case was without merit and dismissed it.

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