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Stella Oduah Ex-Minister's suit to stop bulletproof cars probe dismissed

The armoured vehicles were purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority in 2013 while Oduah was the Aviation Minister in 2013.

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Former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, has lost the suit filed against the Attorney General of the Federation and three others, seeking a Federal High Court to restrain agencies of the Federal Government from questioning or prosecuting her over the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at a cost of N255million.

Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court in Lagos, today, February 17, dismissed the fundamental rights enforcement suit for want of jurisdiction, and ordered her to pay a cost of N15,000 to the AGF.

The armoured vehicles were purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority  in 2013 while she was the Aviation Minister in 2013.

In her suit, Oduah said she has already been probed and exonerated by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and urged Justice Abang to declare that any further probe would amount to violating her fundamental rights.

The respondents in the suit are the AGF, the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the Inspector General of Police.

READ: Supreme Court removes Stella Oduah, Andy Uba from Senate

The former minister alleges that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) intends to use the respondents to persecute her, being a prominent member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.

She claimed that the Federal Government had perfected plans to try prominent members of the PDP on trump up charges in a special Lagos State High Court, so as to turn the country into a one-party state.

Denying any relationship with the APC on the case, the EFCC said it is acting independently. It submitted to the court a petition dated October 18, 2013, written by a lawyer from the chambers of Femi Falana (SAN), calling for Oduah’s investigation.

According to the anti-graft Commission, the petition was captioned, ‘Request for Investigation of Economic and Financial Crimes of the sum of N255m by Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah’.

The EFCC urged the court to dismiss Oduah’s suit.

Delivering his judgement, Justice Abang dismissed the EFCC’s objection for not complying with Order 8 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure.

“The EFCC did not file any opposition in line with the law,” Justice Abang held.

The judge, however, upheld the preliminary objection filed by the AGF, who challenged the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Lagos to entertain Oduah’s suit.

READ: Supreme Court didn't sack me - Stella Oduah

Counsel for the AGF, T.A. Gazali, had contended that since the rights violation that Oduah alleged did not happen in Lagos, it would be a violation of Section 46(1) of the constitution and Order 2 Rule 1 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure to entertain the case in Lagos.

“From the whole of the applicant’s averments, there is nowhere she mentioned that her right was or is being breached by the respondents within the territorial space called Lagos.

“There is nothing to show that the applicant was invited, arrested or detained in Lagos by any of the respondents in the suit.

“The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain alleged breach of fundamental rights that did not take place in Lagos State,” Gazali had argued.

The judge upheld Gazali’s argument and dismissed Oduah’s case.

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