Subduing The Tyranny Of The Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC): The Judiciary Rescues Abdulhamid Mahmud Zari – By Mike Ozekhome

Detainees Escape Lagos EFCC Detention Centre, Magu Embarrassed

It was another day of victory as the tyranny of the EFCC was again curtailed through an Ex parte order granted by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, in the case of ABDULHAMID MAHMUD ZARI. V EFCC & ANOR, ordering the parties in the suit to maintain status quo, until the final determination of the substantive suit. The Applicant, Abdulhamid Mahmud Zari, through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, had filed a suit for the Enforcement Of Fundamental Rights against the EFCC and one Abubakar Madaki.

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The Applicant, who is a businessman and Director of G-Complex Nigeria Limited, has been under severe mental torment and psychological torture of the EFCC, due to the unwarranted arrests and detention he has suffered in the hands of the EFCC, ceaseless invitations for interrogation, sealing of his house and offices and ordering him, his family members and workers to vacate his premises and company at No. 4, Gunduma, Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. He was thereafter arrested on 27th March, 2017, based on personal complaints from one Abubakar Madaki Aliyu, who is the 2ndrespondent in the suit. The said Abubakar Madaki is the Head of procurement in the EFCC and a Personal Assistant to the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu. Abubakar Madaki has been using the awesome power of the EFCC to antagonize the Applicant for several years, using his office to pursue a personal vendetta against the Applicant, simply because the Applicant is a successful business man and has built a business empire in Gunduma community where the 2nd Respondent is a community leader.

The invitations and visits of the Applicant to the EFCC have since become an almost every day affair since he was first arrested on 27th March 2017. When the harassment became unbearable, he approached the law firm of the learned Silk, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to help rescue him from the tormenting harassment, unnecessary invitations and unwarranted detention by the EFCC.

After he approached the office of the learned Silk, the EFCC again invited him for interrogation. He spent the whole day at the EFCC office and was told to return the next day. On the next day, being 16th of June, 2017, he was detained in the EFCC for 8 good days without any justifiable reason. Chief Ozekhome filed an Application for the Enforcement of the fundamental rights of Mr. Abdulhamid, on the 21st day of June, 2017, with a motion ex parte filed on 30th of June, 2017, praying the Court for the immediate release of the Applicant and restraining EFCC from further inviting, arresting or detaining him, as well as unsealing the residence of the Applicant and returning all his seized documents to him.

While in Court on the 6th day of July, 2017, for the hearing of the Ex-parte application, the EFCC, in its usual manner, again sent a message to the Applicant, Mr. Abdulhamid, through his surety, instructing him to report in their office the next day. The learned Silk was compelled to bring the text message to the attention of the Judge.

The Honourable Justice Binta Nyako, after hearing the argument of Chief Ozekhome, delivered a very short but decisive ruling. He ordered that, “ALL PARTIES MAINTAIN STATUS QUO”. This, to all intents and purposes, has brought relief to the Applicant, against the continuous harassment, invitation, interrogation, arrest and detention. The Applicant, who was visibly relieved, could not contain his excitement at the order of the court. The matter was thereafter adjourned to 16th October, 2017.

This short, but decisive Order of the Honourable Court has again brought to the fore, the fact that justice will always prevail against high handedness, executive recklessness and pursuit of personal vendetta, using the awesome powers of officialdom. EFCC has over the years turned itself into an organization that is above the law, and simply does what it likes. Mr. Abdulhamid had been terrorized by the EFCC, for a period of three months, without being charged to court. This is a practice that has become a regular feature of the EFCC, especially when they know that there is no prima facie case against the person.

Nigerians can only be grateful to the judiciary, for restoring hope to the oppressed and the downtrodden.

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