Lagos - A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday denied a motion ex-parte filed on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd., Mr Ifeanyi Uba and four others, seeking their release on bail.
Mr Joseph Nwobike (SAN), counsel to the applicants, in the bail application, argued that the action of the police Special Fraud Unit in detaining his clients since Oct. 9 was a violation of their fundamental rights.
According to him, the action of the respondents is reprehensible, barbaric and a clear contravention of Section 36 (4) (5) (a) (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Uba, Nsika Usoro, Godfrey Okorie, Chibuzor Ogbuokiri, and Joseph Orji,, were on Oct. 11 arraigned by the SFU over an alleged N43.29 billion fuel subsidy fraud.
The SFU had accused the men of economic sabotage, obtaining money by false pretences, stealing of N43.291 billion, property of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, money laundering and forgery.
The four other defendants are employees of Capital Oil and Gas.
The defendants, who appeared before Magistrate Martins Owumi of a Tinubu Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, were ordered to be remanded in SFU custody for 14 days.
In his ruling, Justice Okon Abang declared that the order sought by the defendants was not possible in law.
According to him, it will be just to hear the respondents before taking any decision on the issue of bail.
Citing Order 26 Rule 10 of the Federal High Court Procedure Rules, Abang also converted the ex-parte application to a Motion on Notice, and ordered that hearing notices be served on the respondents.
Abang also ruled that the respondents were at liberty to file their responses to the converted motion on or before 12 noon Oct. 16, and that the application would be argued without fail on that date.
The case was adjourned to Oct. 16 for continuation of hearing.