Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, restrained the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from confiscating the assets and property belonging to the immediate-past Governor of Zamfara, Abdulazeez Yari.
Taiwo, in a ruling in an ex-parte application for interim injunctions brought by Yari’s Counsel, Mahmud Magaji, SAN, also restrained the ICPC and AGF from interfering with Yari’s enjoyment of the rights enshrined in Sections 34, 35, 37, 41 and 43 of the Constitution.
Justice Taiwo also directed parties in the case to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
The judge said the orders made, are to subsist pending the determination of the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the ex-governor.
Justice Taiwo had, on Aug. 16, granted the ICPC’s request to freeze Yari’s accounts in Polaris and Zenith banks.
The judge, however. said that the orders made on Monday did not affect the earlier one relating to only accounts in the two banks.
The orders granted in the judge’s ruling on Monday include: “An order of interim injunction retraining the respondents from seizing, impounding, taking over, confiscating or otherwise forfeiting the assets and property of the applicant wherever they may be located within Nigeria or anywhere else in the world pending the hearing and determination of the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the respondents from unlawfully interfering with the applicants‘ rights to Sections 34, 35, 37, 41 and 43 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) until the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.
”An order of this honourable court directing the parties to maintain status quo pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.”
Yari, who was also the immediate-past Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum, in seeking the orders granted, argued that he had been subjected to various forms of intimidation, arrest and detention based on spurious allegations by some powerful elements of the APC against him to the agents of the 1st and 2nd respondents (AGF and ICPC).
The former governor, who described the action as a witch-hunt through his lawyer, said it was politically motivated.
He said: “These individuals thus decided to carry out a vendetta and revenge against the applicant including instigating the respondents against the applicant upon their spurious conclusion without evidence that the applicant was guilty of corrupt practices as former governor of Zamfara and was in breach of the Code of Conduct Act.
“This witch-hunt, is clearly politically motivated, baseless, and has been designed only to discredit and humiliate the applicant in a bid to decimate him politically and this court is statutory empowered to protect any violation against the applicant’s fundamental rights.
“The 1st and 2nd respondents are determined on a follow up attack upon the applicant and his family by the use of allegations of wrongdoing which had been concocted against the applicant in 2019 immediately the Supreme Court decided all elected officials of the APC should step aside for the PDP as an excuse to arrest the applicant and his wife and to arraign them on trumped up charges.
“The agents of the 2nd respondent invaded the applicant’s private residence and nothing incriminating was ever found against The Applicant, in spite of the several investigations carried out by the respondents.
“The applicant is the immediate-past Executive Governor of Zamfara and before then he was elected into the House of Representatives.
“The applicant states that he has been having series of harassment and intimidation by the agents of the respondent some arisen from the lost of the All Progressives Congress in Zamfara to the Peoples Democratic Party.