Bello Adoke’s detention is unnecessary, says Ozekhome

Former Federal Attorney General, (FAG), Adoke, SAN.

By Mike Ozekhome, SAN.

As the former minister of Justice and Federal Attorney General (FAG), Mohammed Adoke, SAN, begins a 14-day detention today at the facility of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Abuja, as ordered by an Abuja High Court, over his alleged involvement with the Malabu oil scam of over $1.1 billion, his lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Chief Mike Ozekhome, faults this process by the anti-graft agency. Below is his argument to condemn the EFCC approach. Excerpts:

“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.

This is a man they forwarded his charges to the UAE and Interpol authorities with a view to preventing them from releasing him based on the said existing charges.

This step led to a legal stalemate, since the UAE and Interpol authorities would not, and could never have extradited Adoke based on a non- existent warrant of arrest.

This is because the earlier warrant of arrest issued against him in April 2019, had since been vacated by the same Justice D.Z.Senchi that earlier issued it on 25th October, 2019 after heated court argument between government lawyers and my humble self.

Adoke therefore elected to return to Nigeria voluntarily, purchasing his own ticket by himself, and signing it 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 values 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”.