Senate President Bukola Saraki has on Tuesday gotten a court order restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other agencies from probing him over corruption allegations.
Saraki had last week filed two separate fundamental rights enforcement suits before the Federal High Court, challenging the decision of the EFCC to seize his houses in Ikoyi.
In his ruling, Justice Taiwo Taiwo ordered the EFCC and the other five respondents to the suit to stay action on the probe pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.
The judge made the order after hearing Saraki’s lawyer Sunday Onubi, who moved the application.
Included in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), Department of State Services, Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Justice Taiwo said he granted Saraki’s prayers to avert a situation where the court would be faced with a situation of fait accompli.
According to him, the order amounts to an order directing the parties to maintain the status quo.
He added that the law allows such an application to be granted in a situation where the applicant would likely face “hardship” between the time of serving processes in the suit on the respondents and hearing and determination of the suit.
He ruled, “There is no doubt that the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 is a special proceeding with its stated rules and procedure.
“By the provision of Order 4(3) of the Fundamental Rights Civil Procedure Rules, 2009, the court may, if satisfied that the applicant may be caused hardship before the service of an application where liberty or life of the applicant is involved hear the application ex parte upon such interim reliefs as the justice of the application may demand.
“There is no doubt that in making the interim reliefs or orders, the court is guided even in its exercise of its discretion judicially and judiciously applied by the law and statues.
“Here comes in the rules and of course Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He added, “I am of the view, after due consideration of the aforesaid averment, that this court ought to make the order being sought by the applicant pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion on notice.
“To do otherwise and not to restrain the respondents by asking them not to stay action will result in the court being faced with a fait accompli.”
Asking the applicant to serve the court processes on the six respondents who he also directed to file their response within five days of being served, Justice Taiwo adjourned further hearing till May 23, 2019.