Court grants Jonathan’s ex-ADC bail in arms deal suit

AdegbeDeclines N100m compensation
A FEDERAL Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja High Court yesterday ordered the release of former Aide-de-Camp (ADC) to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Colonel Ojogbane Adegbe on bail.

The presiding judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, however declined the N100 million in damages sought by the applicant.Adegbe had approached the court to challenge his arrest and continued detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since February 11 over the $2.1 billion arms deal, urging the court to award him a N100 million compensation for alleged infringement of his fundamental human rights by the anti-graft agency.

Justice Halilu, however, reminded the court that his ruling was binding on both the EFCC and the Nigerian Army.And having carefully read the applicant’s affidavit as well as the counter-affidavit by the respondent, he held that fundamental rights were pre-modal and meant to be possessed and enjoyed by individuals.

Citing the contents of both the affidavits, the judge noted that should there be any reason to curtail the rights on an individual, such must be observed in consonant with the laws of the land.

“As sacrosanct as the rights contained in Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution are, once there is any good reason for the same rights to be curtailed, they shall be so curtailed in line the with the basic provisions of the law and the Constitution,” he said.

Justice Halilu stated that he had meticulously gone through the affidavits to ensure they scaled the rigours of the law.“The respondent (EFCC) has stated in Paragraph 7 (b) of the counter-affidavit that contrary to the position contained in Paragraph 4 of the applicant’s affidavit, the applicant was in custody at the instance of the employer, the Nigerian Army.

“On Paragraph 7 (f) of the counter affidavit, the respondent said the applicant was in custody at the instance of the Nigerian Army in line with the Army’s service code and not at the instance of respondent.

“That Nigerian Army brought the applicant to the premises of the respondent for further interview on the issue of allegation bordering on arms procurement.”

Justice Halilu then asked: “Is the EFCC continuing with Armed Forces’ investigation by keeping the applicant in detention because he was brought to the respondent by the Army operatives?”

“After a careful examination of the same counter- affidavit EFCC filed, they seemed to be dancing Makossa on one side and on the other side, they are singing another song.”
Adegbe’s counsel, Ogwu Onoja, had informed the court that the EFCC transferred his client to a military facility after granting him bail on stringent conditions, a submission that was not countered by the counsel to EFCC, Musu Denga.

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