Obanikoro Loses Bid to Stop EFCC From Property Seizure

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, struck out the suit by former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Obanikoro and his wife Fati, his sons Gbolahon, and Babajide and his Wife Moroophat, had sued the commission through their lawyer, Mr Lawal Pedro, SAN, seeking a court order that the forceful seizure of their personal effects constitutes a gross violation of their rights.
They prayed the court to set aside the forceful detention of their properties on June 14, 2016 and an “unreserved public apology,” as well as seeking the award of N100million as general damages against the commission, as well as an order restraining the EFCC from arresting them or entering their premises again to seize their properties.

EFCC opposed the application, urging the court to strike it out for lack of merit.

In his judgment, yesterday, trial judge Justice Abdulazeez Anka upheld the contention of the respondent and accordingly struck out the application.

Basing his decision on so many decided cases, Justice Anka held that; “The learned silk for the applicant seemed to have delved into the issue of search warrant at the hearing of the preliminary objection before the substantive suit proper.

“What I can deduce from the argument of counsel to the applicants is the alleged illegality of the search, as well as evidences adduced; the question however is whether at this stage, the court can be justified in declaring the said search as unlawful.

“This application to declare the search and seizure of properties illegal, is in my view, akin to pre-empting objection to the admissibility of a document in the main suit. In the light of the above, I hold that the preliminary objection succeeds; this application is hereby struck out. Parties have a right of appeal, and I so hold,” the judge added.

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