A cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan has sued the Nigerian government over his continued detention and the government’s refusal to charge him to court.
Robert Azibaola, a Niger-Delta activist, on Wednesday filed a suit before the Federal High Court, Lagos, challenging his detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Joined in the suit as respondents are the EFCC, the Attorney General of the Federation, and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. Azibaola has been in EFCC custody since March 23, after he was invited for questioning over a $40 million pipeline contract reportedly awarded by the Office of National Security Adviser, headed by Sambo Dasuki.
Mr. Dasuki is currently facing prosecution at a federal court.
In his suit, filed through the law firm of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Mr. Azibaola is asking the court to stop the federal government and the EFCC from applying for any new remand warrant against him from any court in Nigeria.
The applicant said the EFCC had established a pattern of using remand warrants to keep him in custody indefinitely.
He is also asking the court to hold that sections 293 and 294 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which the EFCC is relying on to secure remand orders from Magistrate Courts were designed to deal with criminal offences attracting capital punishment, such as murder, armed robbery, kidnapping or treasonable felony.
Mr. Azibaola is seeking the court to hold that the attempt by the EFCC to force him to implicate Mr. Jonathan, is contrary to section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which has outlawed the practice of arresting a citizen as ransom for the alleged offense of another citizen.
The applicant claimed, in the suit, that he was commissioned by the federal government to execute an assignment “to navigate the Niger Delta to network with all stakeholders for the purpose of preventing oil pipelines vandalism, oil bunkering and crude oil theft”.
“The assignment was duly executed upon payment,” he stated.
“Robert is claiming that under section 8 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, he should not be arrested or prosecuted for any civil contract or transaction.
“He thus contends that he is being persecuted purely on account of his blood relationship with ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and this wants the court to order his immediate release or that he should be charged to court for any offence against him.”
Mr. Robert also alleged that there are plans to keep transferring him from one state to another, upon the expiration of any particular remand warrant in one State, so as to renew such remand warrant in another and this keep him in custody indefinitely.