Void my wanted declaration, HDP presidential candidate tells court

The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has asked the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court to void his declaration as a wanted person by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The commission had on July 10, 2018 in a newspaper publication declared Owuru wanted over fraud charges pending against him in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

But Owuru, in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit, is praying the court to declare as illegal, null and void the actions of the anti-graft agency on the grounds that the declaration was made without the backing of the law.

At the last adjournment on August 7, 2019, before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, the plaintiff’s lawyer, Eze Nnayenlugo, said the criminal case referred to by the commission involved a land transaction which had already been withdrawn.

When the matter came up Tuesday, the counsel to the plaintiff, Chukwunoyerem Njoku, argued that the declaration of the plaintiff wanted for an alleged criminal matter was not in compliance with the statutory provision before it was made.

He stated that there was no court order or any provision of the law that empowers the EFCC to make the publication that declared his client wanted.

Njoku prayed the trial judge, Justice Nkeonye Maha, to grant the reliefs sought by his client, amongst which is an award of N500 million damages as compensation for the damage allegedly done to his reputation as a result of the EFCC’s publication.

However, counsel to the EFCC, Ibrahim Audu, told Justice Maha that Owuru was declared wanted due to his failure to appear in court to answer to a criminal case instituted against him by the commission in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

Justice Maha, after listening to the parties, on Tuesday, fixed October 7 for judgment.

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