The Federal High Court, in Abuja, on Thursday, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to pay N1 million to Babajide Adelekan for the violation of his right.
Newsmen report that Mr Adelekan, then Provost of the Federal College of Agriculture, Ibadan in Oyo State, was arrested when he visited his bank in 2018 to find out why his account was frozen.
In a judgment delivered via Zoom, the judge, Ifeoma Ojukwu, held that the EFCC failed to prove why Mr Adelekan was arrested and detained.
The judge held that the EFCC failed to lay credible evidence before it to prove the legitimacy of the arrest and detention of the applicant.
On the claim by the EFCC that the applicant was arrested based on several petitions lodged against him, the judge said there was no concrete evidence before the court to establish the claim.
“His arrest and detention exceeded what is reasonable and amounts to a violation of his right to liberty and movement.
“I hereby make a declaration that the arrest and detention of the applicant constitute a violation of his rights as enshrined in Section 35 of the Constitution.
“In law, any deprivation of liberty or rights of a citizen attracts a penalty.”
She ordered the anti-graft agency to, in addition to paying the sum of N1 million to the applicant, release his passport and refrain from any action inimical to his rights.
The judgment came less than three months after the Federal High Court in Abuja awarded N50million damages against the EFCC in favour of a defendant, Babatunde Morakinyo, who was unlawfully re-arrested by the commission’s operatives last year.
The judge, Inyang Ekwo, ruled that the anti-graft agency abused its powers by re-arresting Mr Morakinyo after he was granted bail by another judge of the court, Ahmed Mohammed, on March 19, 2020.
Mr Ekwo ordered the commission to publish a public apology to Mr Morakinyo in two national dailies within 14 days for trampling on his rights when he was re-arrested on the court premises in Abuja shortly after he was released on bail.
The commission had claimed that Mr Morakinyo was rearrested for another charge filed against him in the Lagos Division of the court.
But Mr Ekwo dismissed the commission’s excuse for the rearrest.
Although the arrests leading to the awards against the EFCC did not happen under the watch of its new chair, Abdulrasheed Bawa, a report published days after his appointment had highlighted respect for human rights as one of the 10 things Nigerians expected from him.