An Abuja federal high court has barred the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting or detaining Femi Fani-Kayode and Yinka Odumakin.
Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation and Odumakin, spokesman of Afenifere, had filed a N20 million suit against the commission over their claim that the commission was plotting to arrest Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN).
EFCC had denied the allegation and threatened them with a suit. The commission also invited them for questioning.
The duo had gone to the court to prevent their arrest.
In his ruling on Monday, John Tsoho, the presiding judge, asked the EFCC to stay action pending the determination of the application on notice.
Chukwuma Machukwu-Ume, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), filed an ex parte application on behalf of the duo, informing the court that they had gone into hiding due to the threat by the anti-graft agency to arrest them.
“The spokesman of the EFCC, Mr Tony Orilade, was alleged to have made the threat to arrest them publicly at a conference where he represented the EFCC chairman,” Machukwu-Ume said.
“He said they are doing everything possible to arrest these two gentlemen just for speaking their minds.
“The EFCC is established to pursue corruption and not comments made by Nigerians, expressing themselves.”
The judge said he was satisfied that the duo have made out a case for the court’s intervention and adjourned the matter till February 4.
“Accordingly, the respondents are restrained from either arresting or detaining the applicants on grounds of the applicants’ public statements pending the determination of the application on notice,” Tsoho said.
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