stella odua

Alleged Fraud: Court Turns Down Stella Odua’s Request From Arrest & Prosecution

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Justice Abdul Kafarati of a  Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a motion filed by a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, to stop her arrest and prosecution.

Odua is asking the court ‎for an order stopping the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the police from arresting her with respect to ongoing investigation into corruption allegation against her.

Oduah, now a senator had approached the court through fundamental rights enforcement suit, asking the court to stop the Attorney-General of the Federation’s office, the EFCC, and the police from “inviting, arresting, investigating or prosecuting” her over the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at a cost of N255m by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch as the Aviation Minister in 2013.

Early this year, Senator Oduah filed a similar motion but was struck out by Justice Okon Abang, for want of territorial jurisdiction.

Justice Kafarati in his judgment yesterday upheld the objection raised by the respondents, to the effect that the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to hear the case because the prayer sought in it was outside the ambit Chapter 4 of the Constitution which captured enforceable rights of persons.

He held that that no court had the power to stop security agencies from carrying out their duty of investigation.

He also said such prayer could not constitute a fundamental rights action.

He said, “It is not grantable by this court because the court cannot stop security agencies from carrying out their duties. There is no way a person can be investigated without being invited by (the) body charged with the responsibility of investigation.

“In most cases, the invitation is even in the interest of the invitee because he or she will have the opportunity of giving his or her side of the story.

“I therefore hold that the application seeking to stop security agencies from inviting, investigating, arresting and/or prosecuting any person suspected to have committed an offence does not constitute a fundamental right action.”

By Kunle Olasanmi

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