COURT ORDERS EFCC TO PAY N50.8M TO SENATOR
A Federal High Court in Jos has ordered the EFCC to pay N50.8m to Senator Festus Olabode as damages for the violation of his human rights.
The court awarded the damages to Olabode in a judgment it delivered in a case the Ekiti senator filed against the anti-graft body for allegedly infringing on his privacy and disrupting his business.
The senator had alleged that the EFCC on March 31, 2008, invaded his hotel, Friendly Hotel Limited, on Iworoko road in Ado Ekiti and carted away 27 computers from its cyber cafe.
The commission, Olabode further alleged, arrested him without any search warrant, adding that he was detained for some days.
In defence of its action, the EFCC had claimed that a swindler had used the cafe to dupe some unsuspecting persons; hence it raided the business centre and arrested the senator, being the owner of both the hotel and the café.
Angered by the EFCC action, Olabode had, through his Counsel, Mr. Gyang Zi, dragged the commission to the Federal High Court to seek redress.
Justice A.L. Allagoa, while delivering judgment in the case in Jos, said that the “EFCC acted in violation of the plaintiff’s fundamental human rights as contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“It is unlawful for the police to arrest, let alone detain a person before looking for evidence or without a court warrant; no law gives the police such powers.
“For the violation of the fundamental human rights of the plaintiff and disrupting his business for 369 days, I hereby award N50.8m as special and general damages against the commission.”
The damages awarded to the senator include N36.9m for the 369 days closure of the café estimated at N100,000 per day and N3.2m for the 27 computers at N120,000 each.
Also, N5m was awarded for unlawful arrest and violation of the senator’s fundamental human rights, N2m as general damages while N500,000 was to cover the plaintiff’s legal cost.
Meanwhile, the Italian government has indicated interest in broadening its ties with Nigeria especially in the area of sustainable partnership in the war against graft.
The indication was given in Abuja on Wednesday by the Ambassador of Italy to Nigeria, Dr. Robert Colamine, and Italy’s Chief Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, Dr. Pietro Grasso, when they paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri.
In her response, the EFCC Chairman assured that Nigeria would be ready to work with the Italian government on criminal investigation.