By Tobi Soniyi
An Abuja High Court has ordered the unconditional release of Aide de Camp (ADC) to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ojogbane Adegbe
Justice Yusuf Halilu made the order while ruling on application filed by Adegbe through his lawyer, Chief Ogwu Onoja, SAN challenging the legality of Adegbe’s detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to court to challenge his adetention.
Adegbe, a colonel had asked the court for N100 million damages for his detention which he alleged violated his fundamental rights.
Onoja urged the court to declare that his client’s arrest and continued detention by EFCC since February 11 was unconstitutional and violated his right to personal liberty guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution.
He urged the court to make an order directing the EFCC to immediately release the applicant from unlawful detention.
In the alternative, the applicant is seeking for an order admitting him to bail pending his trial in a court of competent jurisdiction since his case is not a capital offence.
In addition, Adegbe wants the respondent to write a letter of apology to him.
Adegbe filed the suit on the grounds that his arrest and continued detention by the EFCC violated his rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement as guaranteed by Sections 35 and 41of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Articles 5, 6, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
The applicant said he sought the relief because his arrest and continued detention “is neither known to any law nor permitted by any law/procedure and therefore not justified”.
A supporting affidavit deposed to by one Michael David Adegbe, the younger brother of the ADC, stated that Adegbe had been in EFCC detention facility since February 11, 2015 and had been denied administrative bail by the commission.
The deponent stated that Ojogbane after leaving office was sent on a military course in the United Kingdom.
“As a result of activities being undertaken by the EFCC in relation to activities of the former government of President Goodluck Jonathan, the respondent invited the applicant through the Nigerian Army,” the deponent.
The affidavit stated that having been summoned by the military authorities, Ojogbane returned to Nigeria on February 10, 2015, and was subsequently handed over to the EFCC for questioning.
The deponent said, “Despite making his statement on that same day, the EFCC continued to detain the applicant in their custody and have refused to grant him bail or charge him to court.”
He claimed that the case against the applicant as seen from interrogation and questions put to him related to his military official duties in receiving concealed messages from the office of the National Security Adviser and delivering them to persons on the instructions of Jonathan.
His lawyer argued that the arrest and detention of Adegbe by the EFCC violated his right to personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 35 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
The applicant’s counsel contended that EFCC’s action violated Articles 5, 6 and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He is praying for: “A declaration that the arrest and continued detention of the applicant by the respondent since February 11, 2016 is unconstitutional as it offends his right to personal liberty as guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”