Judge refuses to release Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia from EFCC custody
Justice Muslim Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday rejected an ex parte application by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, seeking immediate release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The EFCC had detained Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia while probing the source of about $793,800, which the EFCC claimed passed through her domiciliary accounts between 2012 and 2015.
The EFCC claimed that Ofili-Ajumogobia used the money to buy a house in London, adding that she failed to explain the source of her wealth.
The EFCC also alleged that she received a gratification of N5m from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Godwin Obla, at a time when the SAN had a case before her.
The anti-graft agency had filed 30 counts against both the judge and the SAN before the Lagos State High Court.
On Monday, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo, appeared before Justice Muslim Hassan with an ex parte application seeking the immediate release of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.
Onigbanjo contended that the continued detention of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia in the EFCC custody was a violation of her fundamental rights.
He argued that the EFCC ought to have charged her to court if it had any case against her.
The SAN said his client had shown the readiness to defend herself against any charge that the EFCC might press against her.
He maintained that the EFCC should either immediately charge his client to court or release her immediately.
'The EFCC has the option to charge her to court, but it has not done so. She has also stated that she is ready to defend herself vigorously against any charge that may be slammed on her.
'She is ready to deposit her passport and abide by any other conditions that the court may impose on her.
'There is no need, under the law, to continue to keep her in detention except to humiliate her; because the offence is a bailable one,' Onigbanjo said.
However, Justice Hassan declined granting the application, saying it would only be fair to first hear from the EFCC.
He directed Onigbanjo to put the EFCC on notice and adjourned the case till November 28, 2016.
Justice Hassan said, 'The prayers being sought cannot be heard by motion ex parte.'â€Ž