Nigeria: Fake News - Court Stops EFCC, DSS From Arresting Fani-Kayode, Odumakin

Kayode Fayemi
21 January 2019

Abuja — The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Monday, restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, from arresting the former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and the spokesman of Pan-Yoruba group Afenifere, Chief Yinka Odumakin, for allegedly peddling false news on social media.

EFCC had threatened to move against the duo for allegedly originating a false post that its operatives raided the Abuja home of the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen.

In a counter move, both Fani-Kayode and Odumakin approached the high court for protection, alleging plot by security agencies to infringe on their fundamental human rights.

Aside their substantive suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/49/2019, the Plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Chukwuma-Umachukwu Ume, SAN, on Monday, filed an ex-parte motion for an order to restrain both the EFCC and other security agencies from taking any action against them, pending the determination of their joint-suit.

The order was granted by Justice John Tsoho who further fixed February 4 to commence hearing on the matter.

The court ordered all the parties not to take any action that capable of affecting the subject matter of the suit before it.

Justice Tsoho equally directed the service of hearing notices on all the Defendants in the case.

Apart from the EFCC, other Defendants in the matter are the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Nigeria Police Force, NPF.

Specifically, the Plaintiffs are among other things, praying the court for, "A declaration that the Respondent's public declaration to arrest the Applicants on the bases of spreading false rumours, is an infringement of the Applicants rights and breach of their fundamental rights enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).

"An order enforcing the Applicants' fundamental rights and ordering the Respondents to stop issuing threat of unlawful arrest.

As well as, "An order of injunction protecting the Applicants from indiscriminate arrest by restraining the Respondents from threatening, harassing, intimidating, inviting, arresting or detaining the Applicants, by the Respondents, their privies or agents."

Fani-Kayode and Odumakin are equally praying the court to order the Respondents to pay them the sum of N20,000,000 as damages for the unlawful threat to arrest them.

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