A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed June 28 for judgment in a suit filed by Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, former Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), against the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for alleged unlawful arrest.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu fixed the date after Ojerinde’s counsel, A.A. Usman, and lawyer to ICPC, Ebenezer Shogunle, adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the suit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ojerinde, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/179/2023 filed before Justice Egwuatu, is seeking an order to enforce his fundamental rights, following his re-arrest on Jan. 26 within the court premises and his subsequent detention.
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The ex-JAMB registrar, therefore, sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the commission and its officers from arresting or detaining him on account of the petition in respect of which he was currently facing a criminal charge or for the purpose of filing an amended charge as the case may be.
He also sought an order directing the commission to pay to him the sum of N500 million only, being exemplary damages for the breach of his rights to personal liberty, freedom of movement, dignity of human person and presumption of innocence as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
He further sought an order against the anti-graft agency for the sum of N100 million only being the cost of instituting the action, among others.
Upon resumed hearing in the matter, Usman informed the court that his client had been in detention for over 100 days after his re-arrest without a valid court order.
The lawyer, who urged the court to order the ICPC from harassing or detaining his client, prayed the court to grant their reliefs But Shogunle disagreed with Usman, insisting that a warrant of arrest, signed by the Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho, was obtained from the court.
He said the warrant was exhibited with their documents filed before the court.
The ICPC lawyer also disagreed with Usman on the argument that Ojerinde was unlawfully detained, saying the applicant never applied for a bail to have been denied the request.
He prayed the court to dismiss the suit.
After the arguments, Justice Egwuatu fixed June 38 for judgment.
The former JAMB boss, in the suit, also sought an order for a general damages against the ICPC as may be assessed by the court.
Besides, he sought an order against the commission for post-judgment interest of 10 per cent per annum on the judgment sum calculated from the date of delivery if the judgment.
Reports have it that ICPC had accused the ex-JAMB boss of diverting public funds to the tune of N5billion and was dragged to court for 18-count money laundering suit.
Ojerinde was however re-arrested on Jan. 26 by the operatives of the anti-graft commission while he was heading to his car with one of his sons, after Justice Egwuatu adjourned further proceedings in the charge preferred against him.
ICPC lawyer had told the court that he was re-arrested on suspicion that he might have committed some other offences not unconnected with the present charges before the court.
He said for this reason, the commission “obtained a warrant of this honourable court dated 6th of Dec, 2022,” for the ex-JAMB registrar’s re-arrest.