Nimasa: Akpobolokemi Objects To Court’s Jurisdiction

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SAN FRANCISCO, February 29, (THEWILL) – Former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Akpobolokemi, has filed a notice of preliminary objection questioning the competence of a Lagos State High Court to preside over the case of a N754.7m theft levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The EFCC had arraigned Akpobolokemi and six others before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of a Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, on January 25 on 13 counts bordering on stealing and forgery.

His alleged accomplices are Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan, Vincent Udoye, Adegboyega Olopoenia and Gama Marine Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC was supposed to open its case at the resumed proceedings on Monday when Akpolokemi's lawyer, Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), brought an objection to the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter.

Nwobike argued that the charges filed against his client was wrongly filed at the state high court since the charges bordered on alleged stealing of revenues accruable to the Federal Government and its agencies which only the Federal High Court could preside over by virtue of Section 251 (1) (a) and (3) of the Constitution.

“The High Court of Lagos state lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain criminal cases and matters arising from and or pertaining to the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies,” he said.

“By virtue of the provisions of section 251 (1) (a) (p) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.”

Following suit, the 4th defendant, Juan, through his counsel, Ige Asemudara, achallenged the court's jurisdiction and urged the court to set his client free.

After receiving the objections, Justice Adebiyi adjourned till March 9 to hear the preliminary objections.

Story by David Oputah