Stella Oduah Loses Bid To Stop Arrest, Prosecution
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday declined the request of former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the police from investigating her tenure between 2011 and 2015 and prosecuting her.
Justice Adamu Kafarati held that the fundamental right enforcement suit by Mrs. Oduah lacked merit and bereft of any cause of action.
He upheld the objection raised by the respondents, to the effect that the court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to hear the case, which subject matter was outside the ambit of Chapter Four of the Constitution.
In the suit, the former aviation minister, urged the court to declare illegal the alleged plot by the respondents to arrest, investigate and prosecute her in relation to her activities while in office, particularly the purchase of two armoured vehicles estimated at N255million.
The purchase of the bullet proof vehicles by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) while Oduah was in office attracted public criticism over allegation that the prices were inflated.
Oduah argued that the criminal allegations relating to her tenure as minister had been investigated by the EFCC and House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, which both absolved her of any wrongdoing.
She urged the court to declare that, having earlier been exonerated, any further investigation, arrest, harassment and prosecution of her person in relation to the same issue, amounted to the invasion of her fundamental right to personal liberty, freedom of movement and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty.
The 52-year-old, who currently represents Anambra North in the Senate, prayed for an order prohibiting the respondents from inviting, arresting, otherwise harassing or prosecuting her over the matter.
Respondents in the case were the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), EFCC, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
Justice Kafarati, in upholding the preliminary objection by the AGF and the IGP, agreed with them that Oduah could not come under the fundamental rights procedure to seek the reliefs she sought.
He said the subject matter of the case was not a fundamental rights issue.
The judge agreed that the former minister cannot seek to restrain statutory bodies from performing their statutory responsibilities through a fundamental rights enforcement application.
He held that the case was without merit and dismissed it.
Oduah had in August lost her son, Maxwell Etoromi, to brain hemorrhage at an Abuja hospital.
Sources claim the deceased was given the wrong medication after he had his tooth pulled, creating complications that ultimately led to his death.