Mompha Drags EFCC To Court Over Detention, Demands N5m

Popular Social Media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere over the violation of his rights to liberty and fair hearing.

Mompha, in the Fundamental Rights Wnforcement Suit is demanding the sum of N5 million damages from EFCC for detaining him beyond the constitutionally stipulated days.

The social media celebrity, who filed the suit through his lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), is also seeking an order from the court directing the EFCC to release him unconditionally forthwith from its custody.

He is also urging the court for an order of perpetual injunction restraining the anti-graft agency or any person whatsoever acting for or on behalf of the Commission from arresting and detaining him in relation to the subject matter of the suit without recourse to due process of law.

Mompha is further seeking a court declaration that his continuous and further detention by the EFCC on the basis of the remand order granted on October 22, 2019, by Court 6 of Ikeja Magistrate Court, Lagos State, vide a form for request for remand pursuant to the Administration Of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and which elapsed and or expired on November 4, 2019, without being charged and arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction is unlawful, unjustifiable, unconstitutional and constitute gross violation of his fundamental rights to personal liberty and fair hearing as contained in section 35 (4) (5) and 36 of the 1999 Constitution *as amended).

He insisted that as a Nigerian he is entitled to fundamental rights as enshrined in sections 34, 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) .

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His lawyer argued in the suit that their client on October 19, 2019, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, and thereafter detained by the EFCC on account of alleged money laundering and other delated offences.

The lawyer further submitted that on the same day, he was transfered to the agency’s detention facility in Ikoyi, Lagos from Abuja, before obtaining a remand order from the magistrate’ court of Lagos for period of 14 days and that since October 19, 2019, he has been held in detention beyond two days as stipulated by sections 36 and 35 of the Constitution.

Mompha lawyers also stated that the order of remand of their client having expired and elapsed, his continuous detention by the EFCC without been charged before any court of competent jurisdiction is unlawful, unjustifiable unconstitutional and in breach of his fundamental rights to fair hearing and liberty as contained in the Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.

Also, the applicant in a 20 paragraph-affidavit, deposed to by Olumuyiwa A. Ajidagba, a lawyer, averred that in spite of the remand order of the magistrate court of Lagos, granting the EFCC to detain their client for 14 days pending investigation and arraignment, he has now been in the EFCC detention and custody for over 26 days unlawfully, as the order detaining him had expired since November 4.

Olumuyiwa also claimed that the applicant has suffered and been subjected physical, mental and psychological torture in the underground cell at the EFCC’s detention centre.

The deponent further averred that unless the court grants the applicant’s prayers as sought on the motion paper, his fundamental rights to liberty and fair hearing will continued to be infringed and trampled upon by the EFCC in clear violation of 1999 Constitution (as amended)

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit as it is yet to be assigned to any judge.

29th February 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph