Property Seizure: Obanikoro, Family Loses N100M Suit Against FG
The N100 million suit filed by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and his family against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged property seizure before a Federal High Court, Lagos, suffered a setback on Friday, as the suit was struck out for lack of merit.
Senator Obanikoro alongside his wife, Alhaja Miroophat, his two sons, Gbolahan, Babajide and Fati, Babajide’s wife, had sued the anti-graft agency for breach of their fundamental rights.
The plaintiffs had urged the court to declare that the forceful seizure of their personal effects by the commission constitutes a gross violation of their rights.
They also prayed the court for an order setting aside the forceful detention of their properties during a raid on June 14. And an “unreserved public apology”, as well as N100 million as general damages from EFCC.
The claimants also sought for an order restraining EFCC from arresting, detaining or harassing them or entering their premises again to seize their properties.
However, the EFCC in response to Obanikoro’s claim through preliminary objection filed and argued by E. E. Iheanancho, stated that Obanikoro received suspicious payments from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) through companies linked to the family.
For instance, the commission said $1,018,000 was transferred from the ONSA to Mob Integrated Services on March 18, 2015.
But, the family, though their lawyer Lawal Pedro (SAN) had informed the court that the said documents and properties that EFCC seized “have nothing to do with the ONSA.”
Obanikoros claimed that EFCC violated Regulation 13 of the EFCC (Enforcement Regulation) 2010, which provides that it shall apply and obtain a court order to enter and search any premises.
The EFCC while urging the court to dismiss the applicants’ Suit said it acted within the law.
Justice AbdulAziz Anka, while striking out Obanikoros’ suit on Monday, said the application was wrongly brought to the court as the issue canvassed did not fall under fundamental rights procedure and incompetent.
The judge also ruled that the seizure of said property was to enable the Commission to prosecute a criminal case against the claimants.