A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ozekhome, faulted the latest action of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the prosecution of a former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke.
In a statement personally signed by him on Friday, Ozekhome described the obtaining of a court order by the anti-graft agency to detain his client – Adoke – for two weeks as unnecessary.
He noted that the former AGF had already been charged to court even in absentia, while he was in the Netherlands for a masters’ degree programme.
Ozekhome stressed that his client returned to the country voluntarily, adding that he was surprised that Adoke was arrested by INTERPOL upon his arrival.
“Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him, punish him, wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and psychically?” he questioned.
The senior advocate, therefore, called on the EFCC to grant the former AGF administrative bail to treat himself, saying that was why he went to Dubai.
He warned that failure to do so would force them to take legal steps to vacate the ex parte order.
Read Ozekhome’s full statement below:
It is quite surprising, if not distressing, to behold EFCC obtaining a two-week detention order to keep Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN) in its custody.
This is a man they had already charged to court since 2017, even in absentia, whilst he was in the Netherlands pursuing his masters’ degree in International law.
This is a man they forwarded his charges to the UAE and Interpol authorities, with a view to preventing them from releasing him, based on the said existing charges.
This step led to a legal stalemate, since the UAE and Interpol authorities would not, and could never have extradited Adoke based on a non-existent warrant of arrest.
This is because the earlier warrant of arrest issued against him in April 2019, had since been vacated by the same Justice D.Z. Senchi that earlier issued it on 25th October,2019 after heated court argument between government lawyers and my humble self.
Adoke, therefore, elected to return to Nigeria voluntarily, purchasing his own ticket by himself and signing as such, accordingly.
I had issued a statement to the effect that Adoke was on his way back to Nigeria and would report to the EFCC with lawyers from my office upon his arrival.
It was, therefore, a matter of great surprise that the Interpol still arrested him upon arrival and handed him over to the EFCC.
Rather than the EFCC immediately arraigning him before a court based on charges already preferred against him even in absentia, it has resorted to obtaining an ex parte order from the FCT High Court to detain him for two weeks.
We don’t want to believe that Adoke will be persecuted rather than prosecuted. The last time I checked, cases are first thoroughly investigated before a suspect is charged to court as has been done in the Adoke matter.
Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him? Punish him? Wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically, and psychically?
Deny him justice? Subject him to public ridicule, derision, odium, and obloquy? Is it meant to negatively put him in the public domain, try him, convict him and sentence him through media trial?
All these will neither help the course of justice, nor promote constitutional democracy with its corollary in-built safety valves of advancing inalienable human rights and liberties as recognised by extant national, sub-regional, regional, and international civil rights instruments.
We humbly appeal to the EFCC to accord Adoke administrative bail to take care of his poor health, the very reason he had gone to Dubai.
In the event that this fails, we shall immediately take legal steps to vacate this ex parte order, with a view to protecting our client’s rights and securing his liberty.
Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
Counsel to Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN.