In a bid to safeguard his fundamental right and forestall a process of using the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, as a debt recovery agent, Peter Oriyomi Adekoya Ogungbesan, the Olu of Ora in Eredo -Epe area of Lagos State, has dragged the EFCC and two others before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The two others are Callistus I.O., an operative in the Tax Fraud Section Team A of EFCC and one Tunde Aghomon.
According to an affidavit in support of the fundamental right enforcement suit sworn to by the traditional ruler and filed before the court by a Lagos lawyer, Chief Gabriel Giwa-Amu, it was averred that sometimes in 2008 the third defendant in this suit, Tunde Aghomon, bought two Plots of land at Ora Estate, Epe, in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State, from the Ora Royal Family, for building development purposes.
At the time of purchase, Aghomon agreed that construction on the said land was to commence within 10 years of purchase of the said land by him, or the land would be reclaimed by the Ora Royal Family, after a refund of amount paid for such property.
The Applicant informed Mr. Aghomon in 2020 of the decision of the Ora Royal Family to refund the purchase price paid on the two Plots of land which he did not develop within the stipulated time of 10years.
The traditional father deposed further that at all material times relating to and connected with the sale of the two plots of land, his elder brother, Hon. Gbolade Ogungbesan, stood for and on behalf of Ora Royal Family.
Upon his installation as the traditional ruler of Ora Kingdom and Olu of Ora he invited Aghomon to his family compound on numerous occasions and informed him that since he left the said two plots of land undeveloped for a period of over 10 years, the family had decided to refund his money and repossess of the said land as agreed between him and the Ora Royal Family.
Yet, he did not commence any manner of development but resorted to issuing threats and bringing hoodlums and miscreants to the Ora Community to physically attack innocent persons.
On December 12, 2020 at 1:00am, the traditional ruler deposed that “some unknown persons who were later identified as one Callistus I.O and Tunde Aghomon, led an army of unknown thugs and hoodlums and violently stormed his house at No 1, Ogun Street, Shugbola Quarters, Ora, Mojoda, Eredo-Epe, Lagos State in a commando like and violent operation.”
In the cause of their violent operation, some members of Ogungbesan’s family suffered psychological trauma which till date they have not recovered from.
When his wife, Olori (Mrs.) Ogungbesan summoned the courage to come out of the house to see those attackers, “Callistus ordered his men to ransack my entire house and ‘fish’ him out from ‘anywhere.” But unknown to the invaders, the traditional ruler was not at home at the time of the said attack by the Respondents.
Callistus then dropped a note, requesting that he report to the EFCC’s Office at Tax Fraud Section, Team A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State at Block C Room 14.
The traditional ruler said he reported as requested by Callistus and to his surprise he was told that the Callistus was away to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on essential assignment and was told to go and report again. He reported on two other occasions and did not meet Mr. Callistus
Upon private inquiry, Ogungbesan told the court that he discovered that Tunde Aghomon who is a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, was once the Lecturer of Callistus and had procured him to cause him irreparable hurt and injury, as he openly boasted that he would deal with him ruthlessly. And he did.
For example, when the Applicant went to his bank to make some withdrawal, he was informed that Aghomon, on the instructions of the EFCC, had written to his bank and frozen his accounts and that of the Community Development Association.
Ogungbesan claimed that as a result of the unlawful and unconstitutional actions of the respondent, he has not been able to meet his financial obligations, and the community and he as the traditional ruler has been thrown into grave embarrassment.
He deposed further that:
- He has suffered untold hardship and financial loss of unmeasurable proportion as a result of the action of the respondents.
- The accounts frozen was not used in receiving funds/incomes in manner suggesting financial or economic crimes.
- The freezing of his accounts and that of the Ora Community Development Association is malicious.
- The transaction between Aghomon and Ora Royal Family, was land and if there is any issue arising therefrom, the appropriate place to approach for recovery of money paid is the Law Court and not procuring or using officers and men of the EFCC to freeze his accounts and that of the Community Development Association as respondents are not debt recovery agency.
- Whatever remedies Aghomon seeks in a land matter lies in Civil suit and not to continue to use the EFCC and Callistus to unlawfully violate his fundamental rights.
- Till date the Respondents had continued to unlawfully threaten, harass and intimidate him with several phone calls threatening to arrest and detain him on pent-up charges.
Consequently, Chief Ogungbesan is seeking the following reliefs from the court:
- A declaration that the harassment and continued harassment of the Applicant by the men of the EFCC and Callistus on the instigation of Tunde Aghomon is a gross violation and breach of the Applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) 2011.
- An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents either by themselves their officers, servants, agents, privies and otherwise howsoever acting for them, from harassing and/or further harassing and molesting or in any manner infringing the fundamental rights of the Applicant in the name and style of conducting Police/ investigation at the instance of the Tunde Aghomon on issues or all other issues incidental thereto relating to or connected with Two(2) Plots of land issue between the Applicant and Tunde Aghomon.
- A declaration that the freezing of their accounts is unlawful, unconstitutional and in breach of the Applicant Fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.
- An order directing/compelling the EFCC and Callistus to unfreeze and lift the Post No Debit (PND) placed on the Applicant’s Accounts with Zenith Bank and Access Bank or any other bank upon the complaint of EFCC.
- N5 million being damages for unlawfully interference and freezing of the Applicant’s accounts.
- N5million being damages for harassment, intimidation of the Applicant in breach of the Applicant’s Fundamental Human Right as enshrined in the Sections 34, 35 and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) 2011.
Meanwhile, the applicant has filed an application before the court seeking the order of the court to serve the court process and other subsequent processes in this suit on Mr. Tunde Aghomon by substituted means to wit: by pasting the said processes at Number 7 Agodo Street, Odogunyan, Ikorodu, Lagos state being Tunde Aghomon’s last known address.
He said the order deeming the said pasting of the court processes at his last known address should be declared “as good and proper service.”