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    Court Fixes December 12 To Rule On Tompolo’s Case

    A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday fixed December 12, to rule on an application filed by a former Niger Delta militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a. Tompolo, requesting the court to refer his case against the federal government to the Court of Appeal for its opinion on certain questions of the law.

    The former Niger Delta militant leader who has been on the wanted list of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) since January had on April 8 filed the fresh case in which he is asking for an interpretation and nullification of certain sections of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, which he claimed affected his constitutional rights.

    Tompolo is contending that sections 221 and 306 of the ACJA are invalid and unconstitutional, as they seek to prevent the court from exercising its jurisdiction to entertain any objection to a criminal charge and an application for a stay of proceedings pending appeal.

    He is therefore, asking the court to stop his further trial until the determination of the issues.

    Other respondents in the matter are: Attorney-General of the Federation, EFCC, the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.

    On January 14, Justice Ibrahim Buba had issued bench warrant on Tompolo over his failure to appear in court to answer allegations of fraud preferred against him and a former Director General of NIMASA, Patrick Akpolobokemi by the EFCC.

    Though, he had through his lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa filed an application seeking the court to vacate the bench warrant but the application was dismissed by the court.

    At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, counsel to the federal government from the office of the Attorney General of the federation, Mr. Tolu Mukoro in his argument said the application of Tompolo should not be granted as section 45 of the 1999 constitution permits the government to enact any law such as the ACJA and that is reasonably justify, adding that the former Niger Delta militant leader cannot seek to strike down the act.

    He also stated that since Tompolo has been consistently absent in the main criminal proceedings leading to this civil suit, he should not be allowed to take benefit of his wrong doing to obtain any favour from the court.

    In his own submission, Mr. I.B Mohammed, EFCC’s counsel, said the anti –graft agency would rely on paragraph 23 of its substantive counter-affidavit which he said has captured their argument against Tompolo’s application.

    He submitted that since the suit was commenced under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules, it cannot be referred to the Court of Appeal, as there is no provision in the said fundamental rights rules to justify such transfer.

    Tompolo’s counsel, Adegboruwa, in his own argument, countered section 45 of the 1999 constitution cited by federal government’s counsel, saying it excludes section 36 of the 1999 constitution, under which Tompolo filed his case.

    He argued further that Tompolo is not seeking to strike down the entire ACJA but rather two of its provisions in sections 221 and 306, which he argued are unconstitutional.

    After listening to the arguments of parties in the suit, the presiding judge, Justice Olatoregun Ishola fixed December 12 for ruling on the application.

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