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Interesting dimension to case between the EFCC and Rickey Tarfa


Anybody with an eye for the law would understand that the case between the EFCC and Tarfa had all the markings of the term profound or extraordinary. I became interested in that case because I tend to know the EFCC and its methods rather well. I have now more than 30 cases against the EFCC and that is without adding my own personal cases against the commission. 

I understand the commission and how it works. I also appreciate the danger the commission poses for Nigerians, ironically speaking. Yes, you may not realize it, but the EFCC is three times more harmful to Nigeria than it is beneficial. You won’t know this if you are still enveloped in the smoke screen the commission throws at the unsuspecting Nigerians.

Yes, clearly, Rickey Tarfa’s communications with the judge in question were dangerous and must be stopped. Indeed, it ought to have attracted first and foremost severe disciplinary sanctions against Tarfa. Unfortunately though, I am placed in a position where it may appear that I am condoning unethical practice of another lawyer just because he is a lawyer. But far be it from me. I condemn in totality any corruption within the bar or the bench or collusion between the two.

Emeka Ugwuonye

However, I believe that Nigeria is faced with two evils, and one must be forced to choose between the two which one he wants to fight first. The two evils are the corruption and abuse of power within the EFCC, on the one hand, and the corruption and ethical violations between one judge and one lawyer, on the other hand. I am inclined to fight the corruption and abuse of power first, and come back later to deal with corruption and ethical violations within the lawyer and the judge.

Nigerians may not have realized how the EFCC abuses the rights of the citizens of this country. They close your bank account without any legal procedure, and in outright violation of the law. They search your telephone even without a serious suspicion. Indeed, the EFCC searches your phone and your computer for the same ulterior motives as the regular police do the same. The consequences of such flagrant abuse of the constitutional rights of citizens are far reaching.

In the fight with Rickey Tarfa, one wants the worse evil to be dealt with first. In addition to seeking to enforce his fundamental rights to the tune of billions, Tarfa has now sued the MTN. He sues MTN for the violation of his rights by supplying his phone records to the EFCC without a valid court order. I understand this. In three cases, I am pursuing against three banks in Nigeria right now, the banks froze my client’s accounts based on invalid EFCC letters instructing them to freeze those accounts. The banks should have insisted on EFCC obtaining a valid court order first. But the banks, because they are frequently blackmailed by the EFCC, froze my client’s accounts just because the EFCC told them to do so. We already got a judgment of the court that the EFCC had no power to issue any such instruction to the banks. We are simply now pursuing the banks, the way Tarfa is pursuing MTN.

We are watching these cases and my position is obvious. I dread the abuse of governmental powers first before I worry about the violation of any ethical rules.


Rickey Tarfa Sues MTN for Alleged Violation of Privacy

A Senior Nigerian lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, has sued a Mobile Telecommunication Company, MTN Nigeria Communications, for violating his Right to Privacy.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is claiming five billion Naira in damages, also sued the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), its boss, Ibrahim Magu, one Mrs Rashidatou Abdou and a prominent legal practitioner, Femi Falana.

The suit is yet to be assigned to a judge.

In an application brought pursuant to section 37 of the Nigerian constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Cap 10, Mr Tarfa asked the court to make an order declaring that the unauthorised act of using his iPhone 6 in calling one Ado in Kaduna on February 9 while the said phone was with Magu and the agency without any reasonable cause or any court order.

He claimed the act was unlawful, wrongful, illegal and a gross violation of his rights.

Specifically, the applicant asked the court to declare that the unauthorised act of accessing his bank details, client’s information, private and confidential information contained in his iPhone 6 and Samsung 6 phone by EFCC and Magu without any reasonable cause or any court order was unlawful, wrongful, illegal and a gross violation of his fundamental rights.

Mr Rickey Tarfa also asked the court to declare that the unauthorised act of accessing the phone call records/call log of his phone by the respondents and forwarding same to Sahara Reporters and other online news agencies without any reasonable cause, or any court order was also a violation of his rights under the constitution.

Attached to the application was a 134 paragraph affidavit wherein the applicant stated that trouble began when the relationship between his client, Ghanhoue Nazaire and the 3rd respondent, Mrs Rashidatou Abdou, blessed with a child, went sour in 2011.

Emeka Ugwuonye

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