01 March 2016, Lagos – Lagos—embattled former Director-General of Nigeria Maritime Administration Safety Agency, NIMASA, Patrick Akpobolokemi has challenged the jurisdiction of Lagos State High Court to entertain the charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Akpobolokemi was docked before the court on 13 count charges bordering on stealing of N754,740,680 million belonging to NIMASA.
At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the fourth defendant Governor Amechee Juan, through his counsel, Ige Asemudara also filed a similar application.
The counsel to the first defendant, Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN), informed Justice Raliat Adebiyi of an Igbosere High Court that he has a notice of preliminary objection, which was dated February 12 and was filed on February 15.
The application is supported with five paragraphs affidavit deposed to by one Felix Deckcon.
The grounds on which the defendant is challenging the court’s jurisdiction are by the virtue of the provisions of Section 251 (1) (a) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the Federal High Court has exclusive jurisdiction over matters and causes arising from, pertaining to and or is connected with the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria and ita agencies.
The provisions of section 251 (1) (a), (P) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended supersede the provisions of the criminal code laws of Lagos State 2011 and EFCC Establishment Act, 2004.
The High Court of Lagos State lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain criminal cases and matters arising from and or pertaining to; the revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria, the administration or the management and control of the Federal Government or any of its agencies, by virtue of the provisions of section 251 (1) (a) (p) and (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
After listening to both counsels, Justice Adebiyi queried the fourth defendant’s counsel on why he just filed the preliminary objection and also served the prosecuting counsel in court while he has an ample time for him to have filed and serve the EFCC, to enable them reply, since the matter came up twice last week and the court was not available to hear it.
She however asked other counsels in the matter who also wants to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to file their applications before the next adjourned date. Consequently, the matter was adjourned to March 9, for hearing of the preliminary objections.