The National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, on Monday filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking for his immediate release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The PDP spokesman was on January 5, arrested by the anti-graft agency for allegedly receiving N400m from the $2.1bn arms funds that was allegedly diverted by a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and distributed to top politicians.
But Metuh had reportedly claimed that the sum was for an undisclosed service he rendered to the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
In the suit filed by his lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, the PDP spokesman alleged that his arrest and continued detention was part of a grand ploy by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to silence the voice of opposition and make Nigeria a one-party country.
Adegboruwa, who personally deposed to an affidavit of urgency in support of Metuh’s suit, stated that since President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in last year, he has launched “a massive attack upon the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, in the guise of fighting a nebulous anti-corruption war.”
The lawyer further claimed that the President had upon taking office reorganised the EFCC to hound the opposition.
Metuh, through Adegboruwa, sought a declaration that his detention by the EFCC without access to his family and lawyer, and without being charged to court, amounted to a violation of his fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 of the 1999 Constitution.
Expressing fear that Metuh was being kept under untidy or unhygienic conditions which might have effect on his health, Adegboruwa argued that Metuh’s continued detention was a breach to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He said, “I verily believe that the applicant has not committed any offence other than his principled opposition to the ruling government and his arrest and detention are meant to silence the opposition and create a one-party state by the respondents to allow the APC to dominate Nigeria.
“Nobody knows the present whereabouts of the applicant, as to his exact place of detention, his condition in the custody and how he is faring. Recently, detainees in the custody of the 1st respondent have been dying due to lack of proper care and adequate medical facilities, as the 1st respondent is not normally well-funded to function effectively, except to be used by the ruling government to hound the opposition.”
In the suit, Metuh prayed the court to order the EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami SAN, sued as the 2nd defendant, to immediately release him.