The Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has condemned the continued detention of Monday Ubani by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC, despite court order.
Mr Ubani, an immediate past NBA vice president, was arrested and detained by the antigraft agency in connection to his surety bond for a client, Mrs Ngozi Olejeme.
Olejeme was the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015. She was in June declared wanted for allegedly diverting N69bn from the agency.
The President of the NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN said in a statement that the order of Honorable Justice Sylvanus Orji of the Federal High Court wherein His Lordship, on March 26, 2019 granted an ex-parte motion filed by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN directing the EFCC to charge, Mr Ubani and his co-applicant to court on or before 28th of March, 2019.
The court in the alternative had ordered that:
“If the Applicants are not charged to court on or before 28/3/2019, EFCC is directed to release them on bail”
Mr has been 3 days after the order of the court was made and the EFCC, has characteristically shown daring disobedience to the orders of the court by refusing to release Monday Ubani on bail or charge him to court before the 28/3/201.
What the groundnorm says
By the provisions of Section 1(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supreme and binding on all persons and institutions in Nigeria.
By the further provisions of Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution “ Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time.”
“Mr. Monday Ubani still remains in the unlawful custody of the EFCC for more than three weeks, which is a gross violation of his constitutional rights to personal liberty. “
Rule of law is sacred
The NBA leadership stressed that; “Democracy thrives only where there is a culture of respect for rule of law and due process by all persons. The EFCC, being a product of law, must also be subject to the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and therefore, cannot be above the law. The agency’s penchant for disobedience to orders of court is an ominous threat to rule of law and impacts negatively on Nigeria’s investment environment.
“The Nigerian Bar Association, therefore, demands that the EFCC immediately complies with the subsisting order of the Federal High Court by releasing Monday Ubani or charge him to court, if there is any reasonable cause to so do.
“The Nigerian Bar Association also urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to closely monitor the activities of security agencies, like EFCC and DSS, and ensure that they obey the fundamental rights of Nigerians and respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the performance of their functions. “