Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, today rejected an ex-parte motion filed by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia seeking her release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Moyosore Onigbanjo appeared for the judge to argue the motion seeking immediate release of Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia.
The senior lawyer said that the detention of the judge in EFCC custody for more than 24 hours violates her fundamental rights, and that the anti-graft agency ought to have charged her to court if it has any charge against her.
“There is no need, under the law, to continue to keep her in detention except to humiliate her; because the offence is a bailable one,” he argued.
He urged the court to order the EFCC to either charge his client to court or release her, noting that Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia is ready to defend herself if or when charged to court.
“The EFCC has the option to charge her to court, but it has not done so. She has also stated that she is ready to defend herself vigorously against any charge that may be slammed on her,” he said.
Justice Hassan, after hearing the defense counsel, declined the application and ordered him to serve EFCC the motion on notice, saying the fair thing to do.
He further stated that the prayers being sought by Mrs. Ofili-Ajumogobia cannot be heard by motion ex parte, and adjourned the hearing to November 28.
The commission had filed a 30-count charge against the judge and Godwin Obla, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia is one of the judges recently arrested by the Department of Security Service (DSS), and has been under interrogation by the EFCC for allegedly collecting bribes.
The EFCC alleges that she received the sum of N5m as gratification from Mr. Obla, who is also being detained by the agency.
Mr. Obla has also filed a fundamental human rights suit against the EFCC.