EFCC Urges Court To Dismiss Keyamo’s Suit Seeking Atiku’s Probe

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss a suit by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, seeking the probe and prosecution of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) made a similar call on the judge, James Omotosho.

The minister, who was also a spokesperson for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), had filed his suit on 20 January, asking for an order compelling the EFCC, ICPC and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to probe and prosecute Atiku following claims by one of his ex-aides, Michael Achimugu, against him.

Mr Achimugu claimed that between 1999 and 2007 when Atiku was vice president, he conspired with ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to rip off the country using what he termed “Special Purpose Vehicles.”

Mr Keyamo, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), requested the anti-corruption agencies to launch a probe of Atiku, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the middle of the campaigns for the last presidential election.

The former vice president was a main challenger to Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of Mr Keyamo’s party, during the keenly contested poll.

At the resumed on Wednesday, lawyers to the EFCC and ICPC, Samuel Okeleke and O. B. Odogu, respectively, faulted the competence of the suit and asked the court to dismiss it.

Their call for the dismissal of the suit is contained in the separate preliminary objections they had filed in court.

Mr Okeleke argued that Mr Keyamo did not comply with the requirement of the law in filing the suit, arguing that he ought to have first obtained the leave of the court in seeking to compel an agency of the government to act.

The lawyer contended that having failed to comply with the rules, the suit should not be accorded any attention.

Mrs Odogu, on her part, argued that Mr Keyamo did not approach her agency, the ICPC, properly, which she said works discreetly.

“We do discrete investigation. He (Keyamo) gave us 72 hours ultimatum within which to investigate and prosecute the 1st defendant.

“That is not how we operate. We take our time to do discreet investigation,” she said.
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The lawyer to Atiku, Benson Igbanoi, also faulted the competence of the suit while arguing the preliminary objection he filed for his client.

Mr Igbanoi, who accused Mr Keyamo of engaging in abuse of office, urged the court to decline jurisdiction among other grounds, that no cause of action was disclosed by the plaintiff.

He urged the court to disregard the response filed against his preliminary objection by the plaintiff, arguing that it was filed outside the seven days allowed under the court’s rules.

Mr Keyamo’s lawyer, O. C. Uju, urged the court to dismiss the objections raised by the defendants and proceed to hear the case on merit.

The lawyer queried the competence of Atiku’s objection, arguing that it was filed when the court had not assumed jurisdiction over the case and before he could be served with the originating processes.

The judge, Mr Omotosho, after entertaining the arguments by lawyers to the parties, adjourned until 5 June for a ruling on the preliminary objections.


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