JUSTICE Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court, Lagos has declared the arrest and detention of the former Chief Financial Officer of Bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank Limited), Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) unlawful.
The court in its judgment on a fundamental human rights suit filed by Anyanwu through his counsel, Sylva Ogwemoh dismissed the preliminary objection filed by EFCC, through its counsel, Dele Adesina (SAN) to the effect that an action cannot be legally commenced against the Chairman of the EFCC and awarded the sum of N100, 000 as damages in favour of Anyanwu for his unlawful arrest and detention by EFCC.
Anyanwu was on May 16, 2011 arrested by EFCC operatives upon his voluntary appearance at their office in Ikoyi, Lagos State and was detained from May16, 2011 till June 8, 2011 without preferring any charge against him or disclosing any reason(s) for his arrest and detention.
Angered by the action of the anti-graft agency, on May 23, 2011 he commenced an action at the Federal High Court, Lagos through an Originating Motion filed on his behalf by Mr. Sylva Ogwemoh challenging his wrongful and unlawful arrest and detention.
Ogwemoh had in his submission argued that the arrest and detention of Anyanwu without being brought to court within the constitutionally allowed limit of two days is illegal and contrary to Section 35(5)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended).
However, the EFCC had through its counsel, Adeshina contended that the action was not legally commenced against the chairman of the EFCC and urged the court to dismiss or strike it out.
Justice Idris in his judgment dismissed the argument of the defendant, whilst agreeing with the submissions of the plaintiff by declaring the arrest and detention of Anyanwu illegal.