By Yemi Itodo
An Abuja based legal practitioner, Christopher Emeka-Izima, has explained how the Abdulrasheed Bawa-led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is allegedly conniving with one Chief Ezeani Okoye to detain his Client, Mr. Ifeanyi Israel for two weeks running.
Mr. Israel, a 45-year-old Estate and Property Manager, is being detained on the order of Chief Okoye, an 83-year-old businessman, over an allegation of non-remittance of rents paid through him by the tenants occupying Okoye’s properties, which he (Israel) was managing.
In a four-page petition submitted to the EFCC headquarters, on behalf of the detained client on Tuesday, Emeka-Izima also copied the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minster of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN); the Senate Committee on Human Rights and the National Human Rights Commission.
He alluded that, despite meeting bail conditions, the EFCC had refused to grant administrative bail to Mr. Israel, whom the anti-graft agency is allegedly planning to keep in custody till 25th April, when he is likely to be arraigned at Gudu High Court on one-count charge, without a detention warrant.
Emeka-Izima also added that, his Client was first arrested in March 2019 on same allegation and kept for days without arraignment, even after he had met all bail conditions, saying, he was later granted bail and asked to be reporting to the agency every two days, which he had complied with for over 2 years.
He said, his Client was invited again by one Mr. Bakare on the 25th March, 2021, claiming to be the new officer assigned to the case by the new leadership of Bawa.
“Our Client is being detained at the instance and pleasure of Chief (Dr.) Ezeani J.K. Okoye who had vowed to use the Commission to keep our Client perpetually ‘out of circulation’ in this town after his failed attempt at this with the Navy and DIA sometime in 2018.
“Chief (Dr.) Ezeani J.K. Okoye has filed a civil suit at the FCT High Court in Suit No. FCT/CV/2050/2019. Dr. Joseph K. Okoye vs Ifeanyi Israel & Anor, where he is claiming the same money for which our Client is now detained, but he abandoned the said civil matter since May 2020 after our Client presented before the court all the evidence of the remittance of all the money being claimed. For fear of our Client defeating him in the process of prosecution of this case, he has made sure that our Client would not be granted bail again by this ‘new officers’ led by one Mr. Gudu Modibo”, the petition read in part.
The lawyer, while praying the relevant authorities to intervene and release his Client, added that his health was deteriorating adding that the medical team of EFCC was currently administering drugs to him, even as he said that was not sufficient enough.
He however called on the EFCC Boss, Bawa, to grant his Client administrative bail, reminding him of his duties to the good people of Nigeria, especially, the generation of the young, to uphold and respect the rule of law, as no society would grow in absence of the rule of law.
When contacted, Hajia Aisha Larai Musa of the Public Relations Unit of EFCC said she was far away and could not comment on the issue at the moment. She, however, promised to get back to this reporter on Thursday.
Chief Okoye on his part, refused to speak with our correspondent. He terminated the telephone conversation when the topic was introduced and also refused to respond to text messages.