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COURT STOPS EFCC FROM ARRESTING OKEREKE ONYIUKE

By NBF News

A Lagos high court yesterday restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from further harassing, embarrassing, intimidating or threatening to arrest and detain the sacked Director-General of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Professor Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke.

The judicial pronouncement by Justice Morenike Obadina, followed an ex-parte motion brought on behalf of the embattled NSE ex-Director General and argued by Chief Robert Clarke (SAN). Others named in the application, as defendants were, Inspector General of Police, the Commissioner of Police Lagos State and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Restraining the defendants from taking any action to arrest the plaintiff, Justice Obadina said: After hearing Chief Robert Clarke (SAN) with I.B. Mohammed Esq. and O.J. Sodipo Esq. of counsel to the applicant, order is hereby made that the status quo ante be maintained by the respondents pending the hearing of the motion on notice.' In addition, the judge ordered the applicant's counsel to serve the originating motion forthwith on all the respondents, who have five days under the rules after service to file a response.

She later adjourned the matter to August 19, 2010 for hearing of the motion on notice. Okereke-Onyiuke, had in the motion ex-parte brought under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 and under the Inherent Jurisdiction of the court, prayed for an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from violating any of her rights pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.

She averred among others in the 18-paragraphs affidavit filed in support of the motion that since her removal on August 5, 2010, through a letter to her residence, series of strange faces both in mufti and uniform, strange vehicles, either of the EFCC or police had been parading her residence. She deposed further that, 'two black unregistered Highlander Toyota SUV paraded my street repeatedly with their mission unknown to me.'

The plaintiff stated that the immediate intervention of the court was required to protect her fundamental rights to life, movement and properties and more importantly, from being intimidated, arrested and detained since she has not been charged of any offence before a court of competent jurisdiction. Prior to this, the sacked Director-General had instituted a suit at the Federal High Court seeking for N3 billion damages.

She prayed the court to declare her sack as null and void arguing that the purported removal was in utter violation and breach of the provisions of Investments and Securities Act (ISA), which spelt out the terms of her appointment.