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 Mr Mustapha, who is facing a N32 billion fraud charge, was re-arrested on Friday 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, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Mr 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 Mr Mustapha’s lawyer, Kayode Adeboye, who swore to an affidavit in support of the application, averred that his (Mustapha) arrest was baseless.
He argued that Mr Mustapha had been granted bail by the court and never absconded.
Mr Adeboye, in line with the bail conditions, Mr Mustapha had been reporting at the EFCC office fortnightly without defaulting.
However, the spokesman for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, said that Mr Mustapha’s re-arrest was connected to a fresh set of cyber fraud charges.
The court has yet to fix a date to hear Mr Mustapha’s N5 million suit.