A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has granted the request of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to detain former attorney-general of the federation, Mohammed Adoke, for 14 days. This means that Adoke will spend the Christmas and New Year in detention.
Lawyers, who commented on the development yesterday, described it as a boost for the federal government’s anti-corruption war.
The court order was to enable the anti-graft agency conclude its investigation of Adoke for alleged corrupt practices.
Adoke returned to Nigeria on Thursday after five years in self-exile into the waiting hands of EFCC operatives at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The EFCC had in 2017 filed fraud charges against Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and 10 others, including Adoke and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited.
In order to prepare effectively for his prosecution, EFCC approached the court for an order to detain Adoke pending the conclusion of investigation of corruption allegations.
The ex-parte application was moved by counsel to the EFCC, Fatima Mustapha, and was granted by Justice Othman Musa.
Reactions yesterday trailed the order granted to the EFCC to detain the former AGF.
A senior lawyer, Juwa Moseke, said that the court can grant such order if an applicant places sufficient reasons before it.
He said that the anti-graft agency can approach the court with such application, if it felt investigation had not been concluded into the allegations.
Also, AbdulRasak Ismael, a Lagos-based lawyer said that the anti-corruption campaign of the present administration had been boosted with the arrest of highly placed personalities, such as Adoke.
According to him, corruption is what has kept the country where it is and until it is fought to a standstill, Nigeria will go nowhere.
He said: ‘’If this country must progress, we must be ready to make sacrifices and we must also desist from the old ways of doing things. We must learn to put the interest of the country first and shun corrupt practices. I believe we will make meaningful progress by the time those found to have corruptly enriched themselves are made to face the full wrath of the law’’.
Similarly, Godwin Obelah, commended the anti-graft agencies for their efforts to rid the country of corruption. ‘’The order of the court is an appropriate one considering the fact that investigation is still ongoing. Sometimes, such order is made to prevent the accused from interfering with investigation of the allegation,’’ he said.
Constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhone, called on the EFCC to grant Adoke administrative bail.
He described the detention order as surprising and distressing.
Ozekhome also condemned Adoke’s detention, arguing that the EFCC had already charged him to court since 2017, even in absentia, whilst he was in The Netherlands pursuing his Master’s degree in International Law.
‘’Rather than the EFCC immediately arraigning him before a court based on charges already preferred against him even in absentia, it has resorted to obtaining an ex-parte order from the FCT High Court, to detain him for two weeks.
‘’We don’t want to believe that Adoke will be persecuted rather than prosecuted. The last time I checked, cases are first thoroughly investigated before a suspect is charged to court as has been done in the Adoke matter. Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him? Punish him? Wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically and psychically? Deny him justice?