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#OduahGate: Court Strikes Out Former Minister’s Suit On Fundamental Rights

By Niyi Adeyi

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed the suit filed by former a Minister of Aviation, Mrs Stella Oduah, on fundamental rights enforcement against the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Ibrahim Malami (SAN).

Oduah who was recently sacked by a Court of Appeal, as a member of the Senate is praying the court to stop the Federal Government (FG) agencies from questioning or prosecuting her, regarding the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles estimated at N255m by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), while she was a Minister in 2013.

The former Minister premised her prayer on the claim that she has been previously probed and absolved by the 7th House of Representatives Committee on Aviation as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Consequently, Oduah argued in her suit that the court should quash any probe on the matter, contending that such an action was an infringement on, and violation of her fundamental rights.

Other respondents in the Oduah’s suit are the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase.

The accused alleged that the prosecution was a plot to persecute her by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Similarly, Oduah alleged that there was a grand plan by the FG to prosecute prominent PDP members on trump up charges in selected Lagos High Court.

However, the EFCC faulted Oduah’s allegations, responding that the agency enjoyed independence in its operation. It further presented to the court a petition dated October 18, 2013, with the title: “Request for Investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes of the sum of N255m by Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah” and written by a lawyer from the chambers of Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), requesting for the first defendant (Oduah’s) investigation.

Consequently, the agency requested the court to reject and dismiss the former Senator’s suit.

The jurist also upheld the preliminary objection filed by the AGF, on jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain Oduah’s suit.

Justice Abang, after, declined and dismissed the accused application over jurisdiction, and ordered the former flamboyant Minister to pay the sum of N15,000 fine to the AGF.

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