A judge of a Port-Harcourt High Court, Honourable Justice S. H. Aprioku, has said that an order restraining Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting applicants in a fundamental rights suit still stands and is valid.
Honourable Justice Aprioku in a ruling on Friday July 29 however described as an affront to the court EFCC’s action declaring the applicants wanted despite existing court order by the court restraining the agency from arresting the applicants.
The EFCC had declared the applicants wanted in a publication despite an order restraining it from arresting the applicants.
The judge ordered that the EFCC should within seven days withdraw the publication saying that the order restraining the agency from arresting the applicants still stands and has not been set aside.
The judge also said that the order was still applicable to two other cases and adjourned hearing to September 30.
On Friday, the counsel representing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Barrister S.M.H Ibekwute, told the court that the publication was made without recourse to the legal department of the agency.
The applicants in the case include Miss Precious Williams, Mr Paul Odogbo and Pastor Amaechi Udeaku.
Speaking in an interview counsel to Miss Precious Williams, Barrister Ejike Michael Ugwu, said that the EFCC made publication declaring the applicants wanted despite a court order.
The counsel said: “We filed a fundamental right action and the matter is still pending before the court. Court gave order to all the parties which EFCC is one of the respondents restraining them from further arresting or harassing the applicants but unfortunately the EFCC made a publication declaring the applicants: Miss Precious Williams, Pastor Amaechi Udeaku and Chief Paul Odogbo wanted and also threatening to further arrest them”.
He said the court reaffirmed its order restraining the EFCC from arresting the applicants and had directed the agency to withdraw the publication within seven days.
On his part, counsel to Pastor Amaechi Udeaku and Chief Paul Odogbo, Barrister Samuel Emeka Nworie, said EFCC went to make publication to ridicule the judicial system.
Barrister Emeka Nworie said: “Before the EFCC took that step there was already a pending order restraining EFCC from inviting the applicants, arresting the applicants or prosecuting the applicants pending the determination of the substantive suit”.
He said EFCC’s action was an affront to the institution of the court. The suit was filed against Zonal Commander of EFCC and the EFCC itself.