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ABUBAKAR SIDIQ USMAN v. THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION

(2018) LPELR-44678(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Thursday, the 14th day of June, 2018

CA/A/763/2017


Before Their Lordships

MOJEED ADEKUNLE OWOADE Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

HAMMA AKAWU BARKA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

BOLOUKUROMO MOSES UGO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

ABUBAKAR SIDIQ USMAN - Appellant(s)

AND

THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Enforcement of Fundamental Human Rights.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division.

On the 8th of August 2016, officers of the EFCC, (respondents), arrested and detained the appellant on the basis of a publication by the appellant's online publication outfit "abusidiqu.com" captioned "EFCC BOSS, MAGU COMMENCES TOTAL WAR WITH CORE STAFF OF THE EFCC". On 9th of August, 2016, appellant approached the trial Court via an originating motion, seeking to enforce his fundamental rights as enshrined by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as altered, and claiming the following reliefs:
"1. A DECLARATION that the invasion of the House of Applicant by the agents of the Respondent at the early hours of 8th day of August, 2016, violated the Applicant's right to private and family life provided under Section 37 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
???2. A DECLARATION that the arrest and detention of the Applicant by the agents of the Respondent on 8th day of August, 2016 violates the Applicants' right to personal liberty and freedom of movement as provided under Section 35 (3) and (4) and Section 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 7 (d) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, (Cap. A 9) LFN (2004) and it is unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.
???3. A DECLARATION that the arrest and detention of the Applicant by the Respondent on the 8th day of August, 2016, on the allegation of committing an offence under Section 24 of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015, without following the due process of effecting arrest, search and seizure under the combined provisions of Section 45 (1) and 50 of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015 is unlawful, illegal and a breach of the Applicant's Rights to Liberty as protected under Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Articles 6, 7 and 18 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, (Cap. A9) LFN (2004).
4. "AN ORDER directing the Respondent to return the Applicant's items unlawfully seized by the Agents of the Respondents to wit:

a. Infinite Note 2 Mobile Phone containing 2 SIM Cards (i) MTN 08036116256 (ii) ETISALAT 08173416275
b. Blackberry Q10 Model with Globacom SIM Card No. 08056894252
c. HP Laptop
d. SMILE Wireless Router (MIFI)
e. Bank Documents containing the Applicant's Account Detail as kept with Zenith Bank Plc.
f. Photocopy of Zenith Bank Plc Bank Guarantee Forms issued in favour of the SSA to the Kogi State Governor on SDG
g. Stationaries of the SSA to the Kogi State Governor on SDG, unconditionally and with immediate effect".

5. AN ORDER OF PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the Respondent whether by himself, or by his agents, servants, officers, privies or howsoever described from further interfering with the fundamental rights of the Applicants in any manner whatsoever without lawful justification.
6. AN ORDER of this Honourable Court granting the sum of N100,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) only against the Respondent as general damages for the infringement of the Applicant's rights as protected under Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, (Cap. A9) LFN (2004)."

The respondents disputed the facts, rather stating that appellant was arrested upon intelligence report that he was involved in a case of money laundering, fraud and cyber-crimes. The trial Court, after taking evidence from both parties, dismissed the case of the appellant. Aggrieved, appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The issue for determination in the appeal is whether the trial Court was right, having held in dismissing the suit, that appellant failed to prove that his fundamental right was breached in the circumstance.
DECISION/HELD:
In the final analysis, the appeal was dismissed.


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