By Aderogba George
An FCT High Court on Thursday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release former Governor of Jigawa, Saminu Turaki from their custody.
The EFCC arrested Turaki on July 4, at a public function in Abuja, based on a bench warrant issued against him by a Federal High Court, sitting in Dutse, Jigawa in 2014.
Turaki approached the FCT High Court through his counsel, Olusegun Jolaawo, seeking enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
He argued that the length of his stay in the EFCC custody has gone beyond the required 48 hours provided by the Constitution for a detained person.
Jolaawo further told the court that the former governor was having health challenges.
Opposing the application, counsel to EFCC, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court that the anti-graft agency in 2007 filed a money laundering charge against Turaki.
According to Abubakar, the ex-governor was arraigned in 2007 before Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, before she was transferred to Lagos.
Abubakar said that the transfer of Nyako prompted the re-assignment of Turaki before Justice Adamu Bello (now retired).
“Turaki had brought an application seeking the transfer of the case to Jigawa, the court ruled in his favour, and transferred the case to Dutse Division of the Federal High Court.
“Since then, the applicant refused to appear in court, a situation which prompted the issuance of bench warrant,’’ Abubakar said.
He further informed the court that the EFCC had written to the registry of the Federal High Court in Dutse, asking when the applicant will be brought to face trial.
He added that the court in its response stated that the judge has gone on vacation.
Abubakar prayed the court to turn down Turaki’s application.
In his ruling, Justice Yusuf Halilu, ordered the release of Turaki, but ordered him to provide two sureties who must reside within the FCT with verifiable means of livelihood.
He further ordered that the applicant should report to the EFCC office every two weeks to sign a register, which shall be opened from July 13 until when the court resumes from vacation.
The applicant was also ordered to deposit all his travel documents with the court’s registrar.
The court adjourned the hearing of the substantive motion for enforcement of fundamental human rights until July 20.