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High Court

Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to appear before it for freezing the accounts of Benue State government.

The judge issued the order after listening to submissions made by counsel to the state government, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), who led another senior lawyer, Emeka Okpoko.

Other defendants in the suit include the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, the Clerk, and the Auditor General.

The court consequently directed the state government to serve all relevant processes on the EFFC and other respondents before the next hearing date of August ‎14.

The suit, FHC/MAD/CS/42/18, was filed in Makurdi, but Etiaba secured leave of court for the matter to be heard by a vacation court owing to its urgent nature, as there is none of such in the Benue capital.

In the ex parte motion, Etiaba prayed the court to issue a preservative order restraining the anti-graft agency from investigating the accounts of the state under any guise without due authorisation of the House of Assembly pursuant to sections 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The plaintiff seeks for determination the followings:

“Whether by virtue of sections six, seven and 38 (1) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act 2004, or any other law, the agency or any other body, authority or person beyond the fourth and fifth defendants has the power to investigate or inquire into the accounts and/or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government, having regard to the clear provisions of sections 1 (1) and (3), 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended);

“Whether in the absence of any resolution duly passed by the Benue State House of Assembly authorising the EFCC or any other body, authority or person to investigate and/or inquire into the accounts or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government, EFCC or any other body, authority or person can lawfully and constitutionally embark on such exercise without breaching the clear provisions of sections 1 (1) and (3), 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the Constitution;

“Whether the continued invitations of officials of Benue State Government, investigations and/or inquisitions into the accounts and/or appropriations, disbursements and administration of the funds of Benue State Government by the EFCC or any other body, authority or person under any guise having regard to Sections 1(1) and (3), 125(2), (4) and (6), 128 and 129 of the Constitution do not negate the Doctrine of Separation of Powers as enshrined under sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Constitution.”



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