Miike Ozekhome (SAN), counsel to Mohammed Bello Adoke, has described as unnecessary the arrest and detention of the former attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice.
Naija News recalls that Adoke was arrested upon his arrival from Dubai at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The former minister arrived at the airport aboard Emirates flight, Boeing 777 -300ER, at 3.45 pm.
EFCC while speaking on picking up the former minister immediately he arrived stated that he arrived into the waiting arms of its operatives.
The commission through its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, noted that Adoke fled the country in 2015 has pending criminal charges levelled against him for alleged abuse of office and money laundering in respect of the granting of the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 to Shell and ENI.
Reacting in a statement on Friday, Ozekhome called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release his client on health grounds.
According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Adoke voluntarily returned to Nigeria.
“It is quite surprising, if not distressing, to behold EFCC obtaining a two-week detention order to keep Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN in its custody. This is a man they had already charged to court since 2017, even in absentia, whilst he was in the Netherlands pursuing his masters degree in International law,” Ozekhome said.
“Adoke, therefore, elected to return to Nigeria voluntarily, purchasing his own ticket by himself, and signing as such, accordingly. I had issued a statement to the effect that Adoke was on his way back to Nigeria and would report to the EFCC with lawyers from my office upon his arrival.
“It was, therefore, a matter of great surprise that the Interpol still arrested him upon arrival and handed him over to the EFCC. Rather than the EFCC immediately arraigning him before a court based on charges already preferred against him even in absentia, it has resorted to obtaining an Ex parte order from the FCT High Court, to detain him for two weeks. We don’t want to believe that Adoke will be persecuted rather than prosecuted.
“The last time I checked, cases are first thoroughly investigated before a suspect is charged to court as has been done in the Adoke matter. Of what use is his present incarceration meant to achieve? Is it meant to subdue him? Punish him? Wear him out mentally, physically, spiritually, psychologically and psychically? Deny him justice? Subject him to public ridicule, derision, odium and obloquy?
“Is it meant to negatively put him in the public domain, try him, convict him and sentence him, through media trial? All these will neither help the course of justice, nor promote constitutional democracy, with its corollary in-built safety valves of advancing inalienable human rights and liberties as recognised by extant national, sub-regional, regional and international civil rights instruments.
“We humbly appeal to the EFCC to accord Adoke administrative bail to take care of his poor health, the very reason he had gone to Dubai. In the event that this fails, we shall immediately take legal steps to vacate this Ex parte order, with a view to protecting our client’s rights and securing his liberty.”