The Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday struck out the N100m fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by a former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Obanikoro, his wives, Fati and Moroophat, and his sons, Gbolahon and Babajide, had sued the anti-graft agency for what they termed an unlawful invasion of their houses and seizure of some of their properties.
They had, through their lawyer, Mr. Lawal Pedro (SAN), urged the court to declare as null and void the items seized from their houses on June 14, 2016 by the EFCC.
They also prayed the court to award N100m damages against the EFCC in their favour for the violation of their rights to privacy.
But in a ruling on Monday, Justice Abdulaziz Anka struck out Obanikoro’s suit for being incompetent.
The judge upheld the preliminary objection by the EFCC lawyer, E.E. Iheanacho, who contended that “since the main claim of the applicants was founded on tort, their principal reliefs are not maintainable under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules, 2009.”
The judge noted that the applicants’ houses were searched by the EFCC based on search warrants secured by the anti-graft agency from the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court.
Justice Anka said he could not declare the recovered items as null and void, so as not to foreclose the possibility of the EFCC tendering them as exhibits in imminent criminal case against the Obanikoros.