The Kogi State High Court in Lokoja has ordered the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, to be imprisoned for disobeying its order.
The court also directed the Inspector General of Police to arrest Mr Bawa and remand him in Kuje prison, Abuja, for the next 14 days, Channels Television reports.
The judge, Rukayat Ayoola, ordered that Mr Bawa be detained in prison “until he purges himself of the contempt”, meaning until he clears himself of the contempt for which he was jailed.
The EFCC chairman was not present in court during the sitting and is, however, not expected to spend time in jail, despite the court ruling, based on precedence.
Ms Ayoola issued the committal order based on an application filed by Ali Bello accusing Mr Bawa of disobeying a court ruling by going ahead to arraign him on 15 December 2022 against an earlier court order made on 12 December 2022.
In the said 12 December 2022 ruling, the court ruled that the arrest and detention of Mr Bello on 29 November 2022 by EFCC and its chair in the face of an earlier subsisting court order without a warrant of arrest or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested is unlawful and unconstitutional.
The court also held that the arrest and detention of the applicant contravened his right to personal liberty and dignity of the 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.
The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.
The applicant said the EFCC chairperson was directed to produce him in court but failed.
Mr Bello’s lawyer, Sumaila Abbas, had filed the application against Mr Bawa for arresting and detaining the applicant illegally.
The lawyer argued that despite the court ruling in his favour, the EFCC, in defiance of the order, went ahead, to arraign him for money laundering three days after the ruling.
The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and staying execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.