Oduah Fails to Stop Trial Over Purchase of Bulletproof Cars

Senator Stella Oduah has lost in her bid to stop inquest into the purchase of two bulletproof cars as a Minister of Aviation.
In a judgment, Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Lagos dismissed a suit which she brought against the Attorney General of the Federation and three others to enforce her fundamental rights.
Justice Okon Abang dismissed Oduah’s suit for want of jurisdiction and ordered her to pay a cost of N15,000 to the AGF.
Oduah had filed fundamental rights suit in August last year praying the court to restrain agencies of the Federal Government from questioning or prosecuting her over the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at a cost of N255m by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority under her watch as the Aviation Minister in 2013.
Oduah had claimed that she had been probed and exonerated by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and urged Justice Abang to declare that any further probe would amount to violating her fundamental rights.
She alleged that the ruling All Progressives Congress intended to use the respondents to persecute her, being a prominent member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, adding President Mahammadu led Federal Government had perfected plans to try prominent members of the PDP on trump up charges in a special Lagos State High Court, so as to turn the country into a one-party state..
But the EFCC told the court that Oduah was only trying evade trial andbdenied doing the bidding of the APC, claiming that it was independent.
It presented before the court a petition dated October 18, 2013 from the chambers of Femi Falana (SAN), calling for Oduah’s investigation.
The EFCC disclosed that the said petition was captioned, ‘Request for Investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes of the sum of N255m by Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah’.
Though, Justice Abang dismissed the EFCC’s objection for not complying with Order 8 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure., he upheld the preliminary objection filed by the AGF, who challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain Oduah’s suit.
Counsel for the AGF, T.A. Gazali, had contended that: “From the whole of the applicant’s averments, there is nowhere she mentioned that her right was or is being breached by the respondents within the territorial space called Lagos.
“There is nothing to show that the applicant was invited, arrested or detained in Lagos by any of the respondents in the suit.
“The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain alleged breach of fundamental rights that did not take place in Lagos State,” Gazali had argued.
Justice Abang upheld Gazali’s argument and dismissed Oduah’s case.
The Judge also held that if the Federal Government had any valid reason to arraign Oduah in a Lagos State High Court as she alleged, it would not amount a violation of her right.

Author: News Editor

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