Jonathan’s cousin petitions Reps over alleged illegal arrest by EFCC
Azibaola Robert, a relation to former President Goodluck Jonathan, has petitioned the House of Representatives, alleging that he was illegally detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mr. Robert said he was picked up by operatives of the commission on March 23, 2016 and had remained in their custody since then.
In the petition signed by Faith Robert and presented to the lower chamber on Thursday in Abuja by Kingsley Chinda (Rivers-PDP), Mr. Robert said his arrest and continued detention violated his fundamental rights.
He, therefore, urged the leadership of the house, especially the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, to intervene in his ordeal and restore his rights.
“Mr Azibaola Robert is the Managing Director of Kakatar Engineering and Construction Company Limited and its sister company, One Plus Holdings Limited.
“He is a cousin to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and a law-abiding and peace loving Nigerian.
“Recently, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested the said Mr Azibaola Robert over allegations of a 40 million dollar-contract with the office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
“The contract was awarded to One Plus Holdings Limited for the surveillance and security of oil pipelines across the Niger Delta.
“The ONSA is at present indebted to the company (One Plus Holdings Limited) to about four million dollars, being final payment for the said surveillance/oil pipeline security contract,’’ the petition stated.
According to it, Mr. Robert was arrested and taken into EFCC custody on March 23, 2016 and has since spent over a month in EFCC detention, without any formal charge brought against him.
“Preceding his arrest, however, was a raid on his house by scores of heavily armed mobile policemen who in the process subjected his wife and young children to the most dehumanising and traumatic ordeal.
“In EFCC custody, Mr Azibaola Robert has been denied access to his family, lawyers and medical care and repeatedly bullied, harassed, threatened and psychologically traumatised by EFCC operatives, and no formal charge brought against him.
“Curiously, his interrogators have told him in very clear terms to say something to implicate former President Goodluck Jonathan, his cousin as a ‘front’ or beneficiary of the contract, else he would face the `Dasuki treatment’.
“We note the clear provisions of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, dealing with Fundamental Rights, particularly the right to dignity of the human person (S.34), right to personal liberty (S.35) and right to fair hearing (S. 36).`
“Equally instructive is the fact that upon an application for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights, a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory on April 7, 2016 granted Mr Azibaola Robert bail,’’ the petition said.
The petitioner claimed that after meeting the bail conditions, a production warrant of the same court was served on the EFCC on April 12, which was not honoured.
“We are deeply concerned about the health of Mr Azibaola Robert whose demeanour, countenance, co-ordination and cognition are reported to have significantly changed.
“And, such conditions according to his personal physician could be indicative of a systematic poisoning with psychotropic/psychoactive and other lethal drugs by EFCC operatives,’’ the petition stated.
The house received the petition and referred it to its Committee of Public Petitions and adjourned sitting till Thursday.
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