An Internet personality, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly called Mompha, on Tuesday filed a suit seeking to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to pay him N5 million as damages for alleged unlawful re-arrest and detention.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mustapha, who is facing a N32 billion fraud charge, was re-arrested on Friday, (Aug.14) by the EFCC.
He was re-arrested when he went to the EFCC Office, Ikoyi, Lagos, to reclaim his five wristwatches, one Apple airpod, one iPhone, eight mobile phones and one pair of sunglasses seized from him by the anti-graft agency in 2019.
The visit followed a ruling given by Justice Mohammed Liman on July 24, in which the judge ordered the release of the seized items on the grounds that the EFCC did not list them as exhibits in court.
In the suit filed on his behalf on Tuesday by his counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Mustapha is praying the court to declare that his re-arrest and detention by the EFCC was unjustifiable and unlawful.
He is equally urging the court to declare that the continued seizure of the items violated his right to own property under Section 44 of the constitution.
He is praying the court to order the EFCC not only to free him but also to give him back the seized items and pay him N5 million as damages.
A litigation officer in the office of Mustapha’s lawyer, Mr Kayode Adeboye, who swore to an affidavit in support of the application, averred that Mustapha’s arrest was baseless.
He argued that Mustapha had been granted bail by the court and never absconded.
According to Adeboye, in line with the bail conditions, Mustapha had been reporting at the EFCC office fortnightly without defaulting.
However, the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Dele Oyewale, said that Mustapha’s re-arrest was connected to a fresh set of cyber fraud charges.
NAN reports that the court has yet to fix a date to hear Mustapha’s N5 million suit.