- Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs will get the sum of N15million from the EFCC and the Immigration service according to a court ruling
- The court, sitting in Lagos, ruled that the seizure of Lulu-Briggs passport by the anti-graft agency and Immigration is unlawful
- The presiding judge handling the case also accused the EFCC and the Immigration of abusing court processes
Ikeja - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Nigeria Immigration Service have been ordered by a Federal High Court to pay the sum of N15million over the seizure of a passport belonging to a prominent businesswoman, Mrs. Seinye Lulu-Briggs.
The order was given on Monday, February 21 by Justice Ayokunle Faji, the presiding judge of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court in a fundamental rights suit filed by Lulu-Briggs.
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The suit marked FHC/L/CS/147/2020, was filed against the Comptroller-General of NIS; NIS, and the EFCC by the plaintiff over infringement of her fundamental rights.
In course of the judgment, counsel to the first and second respondents being the C-G of NIS and the NIS were present while counsel to the third respondent, the EFCC, was absent.
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In its judgment, the court dismissed the first and second respondents’ notice of preliminary Objection and held that the originating processes were duly served on the 1st and 2nd respondents.
The court also dismissed the third respondent’s preliminary objection and held that the act of initiating two separate actions in Lagos and Abuja on the basis that the infringement took place in Lagos and Abuja amounts to an abuse of court processes.
On the merits, the court held that:
“The first and second respondents can prohibit the movement of any person where there is a certified order of a court of competent jurisdiction or if there is a warrant of arrest. A warrant of arrest can only be issued by a judge or magistrate.
“The letter from the third respondent directing the arrest of the applicant did not constitute a warrant of arrest in any form or manner and cannot be a basis for restricting the movements of the applicant.
“The law permits the first and second respondents from preventing a person from leaving Nigeria and not to prevent him from entering or delay his entry into the country. The acts of the respondents against the applicant in restricting her movements were done without lawful justification.
“The respondents did not comply with the provisions of the law in inhibiting the movements of applicant to and from Nigeria. The actions of the respondents and seizure of the applicant’s passport are in clear violation of Section 35 of the constitution and declared null and void.
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“The travel ban on the applicants by the first and second respondents by way of a watchlist is a violation of the applicant’s right to fair hearing as she was not allowed to make representations before she was placed on the said travel ban.
“The fact that the third respondent foisted the doing of an illegal act on the firstst and second respondents does not give the 1st and 2nd Respondents the cover for illegality. The first and second respondents are both as liable if not more culpable than the third respondent.
“Award of the sum of N15,000,000.00 (Fifteen Million Naira) in favour of the applicant as exemplary damages, jointly and severally against each of the respondents.
“The fact that the third respondent foisted the doing of an illegal act on the first and second respondents does not give the first and second respondents the cover for illegality. The first and second respondents are both as liable if not more culpable than the third respondent.”
64 new judges appointed across states in Nigeria
Recall that the National Judicial Council (NJC) recently recommended the appointment of not less than 64 judges in various states across Nigeria.
The recommendations are mainly for high court judges in Sokoto, Nasarawa, Ogun, Bayelsa, Cross River, Lagos, Rivers, Ekiti, appeal, and customary courts judges in some other states.
NJC’s spokesperson, Soji Oye, said the list of candidates was presented by the council's interview committee and at the end of deliberation.
NJC slams judges who gave conflicting verdicts on Secondus
Meanwhile, judges who presided over the case of Prince Uche Secondus, the former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party have been punished by the NJC.
The judges, Justice Nusirat I. Umar of the High Court of Kebbi, and Justice Edem Ita Kooffreh of the High Court of Cross River, have been barred from promotion for the next two to five years.
This was announced on Thursday, December 16, by the NJC's director of information, by Oye during a meeting chaired by Justice Mary Odili.