An Abuja Federal High Court, has restrained the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], the Department of State Services [DSS] and the Nigeria Police from arresting Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode and/or Mr. Yinka Odumakin.
Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation while Mr. Yinka Odumakin is the spokesman of Afenifere, a pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation.
The presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho gave the order on Monday following an ex parte application argued by Mr Chukwuma Machukwu-Ume (SAN) on behalf of the duo.
Machukwu-Ume had approached the court with petition over plots by the affected security agencies to arrest and detain his clients, Fani-Kayode and Yinka Odumakin.
The Senior Advocate alleged that the arrest plot arose over comments they made with regard to the travails of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen at the Code of Conduct Tribunal [CCT].
He said: “The spokesman of the EFCC, Mr Tony Orilede, was alleged to have made the threat to arrest them publicly at [the recently-held Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN)] conference where he represented the EFCC chairman.
“He said they are doing everything possible to arrest these two gentlemen just for speaking their minds.
“The EFCC is established to pursue corruption and not comments made by Nigerians, expressing themselves.”
He stressed that his clients had gone into hiding for fear of being arrested for merely expressing their freedom of speech.
He further alleged that their family lives had also been affected by the alleged threat.
Relying on Section 6 (6)(b) and Section 46 of the 1999 Constitution, as well as Order 4 Rules 3 of the Fundamental Rights Procedure Rules, he urged the court to grant the order.
The order sought to restrain the respondents from arresting and detaining his clients pending the determination of the application on notice.
Expressing satisfaction that the applicants made a case that their lives were being threatened, Justice Tsoho ruled:
“I am satisfied that the applicants have made out a case for the court’s intervention.
“Accordingly, the respondents are restrained from either arresting or detaining the applicants on grounds of the applicants’ public statements pending the determination of the application on notice.”
He, therefore, adjourned the matter until February 4, 2019.