Businessman drags EFCC through court, demands release from unlawful detention

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An Onitsha-based businessman, Eze Njoku, has dragged through court the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and and one Isioma Okafor for alleged unlawful detention.

Njoku is suing for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, which he alleged had been violated by his detention by the EFCC Benin zonal office since 24th August, 2021.

He said he had been detained on the prompting of one Isioma Okafor.

He is also demanding from the anti-graft commission immediate release from detention.

Njoku alleged his arrest and detention was led by one Nkechi Rita Ude, an operative of the EFCC, Benin zone.

In the suit filed by his counsel, Douglas Ogbankwa Esq., Njoku is suing the EFCC for arresting and detaining him since the 24th of August, first for 19 days with out any court order and now with a court order that has since expired, after 14 days it was granted.

The counsel said Njoku had spent over 48 days without any valid court order.

In the suit marked No. B/194M/2021, Njoku is seeking among other reliefs, a declaration that his detention by the EFCC Benin Zonal Office on the promptings of Okafor, which is beyond the permissible constitutional threshold of 24 hours, is illegal and unconstitutional.

He wants the court to give an order for his immediate release conditional or unconditionally.

He also wants the court to issue an order of perpetual Injunction against the EFCC and Okafor (the 2nd respondent) jointly and severally; agents and any person acting on their behalf from rearresting him; an order restraining the EFCC from using civil servants as sureties as same has been declared illegal by the Court of Appeal.

In his affidavit in support of the application deposed to, on his behalf, by his brother in law, as he has been in detention, Njoku stated that he was arrested by proxy by the EFCC Benin zonal office led by the Acting Zonal Head, Mrs Nkechi Ude on a transaction that borders on forex trade that he was never a party.

He stated further that he did not have any connections with the alleged crime for which he has been kept in detention for more than 48 days now.

He said that the forex transaction was between Isioma Okafor, the complainant and Smart Alban, a company belonging to.his brother, which he does not have any interest in.

He averred that he was not a director in the company and that he has not met Isioma Okafor in his life until he was first arrested at Fegge Police Station, Onitsha, Anambra State

He stated that Isioma Okafor, through the Police at Fegge Police Station, took policemen to his house in Asaba and carted away all his furniture in the house worth well over the N18m.

He also stated that the EFCC in Benin was aware of the carting away of his house hold property by Isioma Okafor, despite this, they are keeping him in detention under the guise that he should get a surety that is a permanent secretary of a federal or state civil service and a land owner that has Certificate of Occupancy in Benin.

This he said had prompted Njoku to ask the court to quash the request of the EFCC for him to use civil servants as sureties.

The case has been fixed for the 21st of October, 2022, before Justice D.I. Okungbowa of the Edo State High Court, Benin City .

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