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Contempt: Kogi Court sends EFCC Chairman, Bawa, to prison

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Kogi State High Court presided by Justice R.O Ayoola has committed to prison the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa for disobeying a Court order.

Also, the court directed the Inspector-General of Police to effect Bawa’s arrest and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

In his judgement on Monday in Lokoja, Justice R.O. Ayoola granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the Bawa was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, following an application by his counsel, S. A. Abass.

The court was reported to have ruled in Ali’s favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the said ruling.

The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked: “HCL/697M/2022” and titled: “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022, to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022, in a case filed by Ali Bello against EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

The court ordered that the EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.

The Form 49 was issued on December 15, 2022, and addressed to Bawa, the EFCC Boss.

The statement read: “Take notice that the Applicant will on the 18th day of January 2023 at the hour of 9 o’clock in the forenoon or so soon thereafter, apply to this Court for an order for your committal to prison for having disobeyed the order of this Court made on 12th day of December 2022.

“That arrest and detention of the Applicant on the 29th November 2022 by the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the face of a subsisting Court Order made by a Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is unlawful, unconstitutional and contravenes the Applicant’s right to personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“Perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their agents, servants, privies, or however called from further arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the Applicant.

It further read, “In the earlier ruling, the court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant (Ali Bello) in the face of a subsisting Court order made by a Court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest, or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested, as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)”.

Also, the court ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10m compensation to the complainant, Ali Bello.

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