AFederal High Court sitting in Enugu yesterday upbraided the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for refusing to release former governorship candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the 2018 Anambra Governorship election, Chief Ifeanyi Okonkwo on bail.
Justice J. Buba handling the matter, warned federal government’s agencies to respect court orders otherwise he would stop entertaining their cases, describing a situation where orders of court would be wilfully disobeyed as regrettable and condemnable.
Justice Buba gave the warning during hearing in a N65 billion suit No FHC/EN/CS/137/2019 between Chief Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo vs EFCC and three others.
The court held that EFCC’s continued detention of the former governorship candidate, Okonkwo, over an alleged financial fraud was unacceptable when a valid order of same court directing the anti-graft body to release him had been consistently violated and disobeyed.
The judge, who was visibly angry with operatives of the EFCC, said he would not continue to accept cases from such government’s agencies when the court would make an order that won’t be obeyed when it was not in its favour, saying it was worrisome that such an agency going to a magistrate’s court to procure a detaining order when a superior court had issued an order of release, noting that such practice was an affront to the judiciary.
Justice Buba said that a situation where a court that supposed to be an arbiter to be turned to be a witness in a case before it by the act of the federal government’s agents was a desecration of the judiciary.
Justice R. O. Dugbo-Oghoghorie of the Federal High Court 2, Enugu had on Tuesday ordered the anti-graft agency to release Okonkwo immediately from its custody after detaining him for over two weeks in contempt of the court.
The order which followed an ex-parte application filed by Mr. Osmond Akputa on behalf of Okonkwo in suit No. FHC/EN/CS/12/2020 was disobeyed and the anti-graft body instead went to Enugu State High Court to arraign him on two occasions which the presiding justices declined jurisdiction to entertain the cases.