A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday turned down an application by the spokesperson of the Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, to speedily hear his suit challenging his prolonged detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Mr. Metuh is accused by the EFCC of receiving N400 million, a part of diverted arms money by the office of the National Security Adviser, and has been held for more than one week.
The EFCC has yet to arraign him, saying Mr. Metuh refused to refund the money.
Mr. Metuh filed a motion at the court, through his counsel, Ifedayo Adetibe, on Wednesday, demanding the immediate commencement of hearings on his suit.
Mr. Adetibe told the court in his interlocutory application that the arrest and continued detention of his client were unconstitutional, saying that the EFCC has no right to arrest and detain any one, without charging the person to court.
But the presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, said the matter was merely an interlocutory application, not a substantive issue and so cannot be granted an accelerated hearing.
“I so hold that in such an interlocutory application parties before a court can only be heard within the confines of the rules of court,” Mr. Abang said.
He noted that the respondent to the application, the EFCC, had five days to respond to the application, if they are not opposed to its content.
He said the request by Mr. Adetiba that the matter be heard, Thursday, could not be granted, since the respondents have five days to respond, excluding Sunday.
Mr. Abang therefore adjourned the matter till January 20.
Speaking to journalists after the hearing, the counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, said his client had already filed a charge before the court against Mr. Metuh.
He added that Mr. Metuh’s arrest and detention were followed an order of court.
Mr. Adetiba called on journalists to be objective in their reporting and avoid frivolous publications on the matter.