The fundamental human rights lawsuit brought by Nigeria’s former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) came up for mention at the Federal High Court in Lagos today, with several rented supporters in attendance.
Mrs. Jonathan’s suit is about $31.4m in Skye Bank accounts on which the anti-graft agency placed a freeze order.
The first motion in the application filed on September 16, was discontinued by the applicant against the respondent, in order to amend the motion and the court struck same out.
Granville Abibor, counsel for Mrs. Jonathan, informed the court that a new application has been filed and served on the EFCC and the second defendant, Waripamo Dudafa.
However, one of the applications was filed ex-parte, and the court ruled that it be converted to a motion on notice and served appropriately on the defendants.
Abibor also moved that the court restrain the EFCC from interfering with the $31.4m in the Skye Bank accounts. He added that despite the service of the process of the suit on EFCC, the agency continues to “undermine” the court process.
Rotimi Oyedepo, couunsel to EFCC, refuted the allegation, saying the account has long been frozen before the suit was filed, and that the issue of interference does not arise.
Justice Justice Babs Kuewumi, presiding, adjourned the case to December 7 for hearing.
The application sought an order to discharge the freezing order obtained by the anti-graft commission on the bank accounts of the companies: Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited- containing the funds of Mrs. Jonathan.
It also sought an order directing Dudafa to release “forthwith the bank accounts of the [companies] containing the funds of the plaintiff.”
Outside, the large crowd of women, which was presumed to have been rented, came into the court premises brandishing placards and banners in support of Mrs. Jonathan. Many of them women alleged that the former First Lady is only being victimized by the present government.
The crowd stubbornly remained in the court premises chanting solidarity songs even after court security operatives had asked them to leave the premises.
Patience Jonathan is also asking the court to order Skye Bank to pay her damages of N200m for violation of her right to own personal property under Section 44 of the Constitution.