Kogi vs AGF: Supreme Court cautions against harassment of govt officials

Against the backdrop of continuous harassment and arraignment of its officials over alleged corruption, the Kogi state   government has prayed the Supreme Court via an application to intervene.

Counsel to the Attorney General of Kogi state, Abdulwahab Muhammed, SAN and Chief A.A. Adeniyi, SAN, who  represented the plaintiff (Kogi State AG) moved the application.

In the application, they drew the attention of the apex court to continued harassment and arraignment of associates of Kogi state government in various courts 

The counsel argued that the harassment was still going on despite the pendency of the suit that was filed in February, 2023.

The Attorney General of Kogi state had, in February, 2023, in suit No. SC/178/ 2023, approached the Supreme Court vide an originating summons to invoke the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the EFCC Act, the ICPC Act, the NFIU Act, the Proceed of Crime (Prevention and Management Act) 2022. 

When the matter came up at the apex court on Tuesday, the apex court cautioned both the anti-graft agencies and Kogi state government against further actions pending the determination of a suit instituted by the Attorney General of Kogi state against the Attorney General of the Federation where it is challenging the constitutionality of Acts establishing some anti-graft agencies, including the Proceed of Crime Protection and Prevention Act 2022, and their applicability to the state. 

He contended that, going by the pronouncement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case of Joseph Nwobike V.FRN to the effect that the United Nation Convention Against Corruption is the precursor to the EFCC, NFIU, ICPC and Proceed of Crime (Prevention and Protection) Act,  and that these laws, having not been enacted in consonance with Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), are unconstitutional and have no applicability whatsoever to Kogi State under whatever guise.

The Acts mentioned in the originating summons include those establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit. 

However, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation, T.A. Ghazali, SAN, who was in court, claimed not to have been served the originating process. 

But while reacting to the issue raised by counsel to the plaintiff (Kogi AG), the panel of judges led by Hon. Justice Amina Augie held:

“Once a dispute had been submitted to the apex court of the land, all persons and authorities in Nigeria are expected to stay further action and await the outcome of the suit.”

The court further advised parties to stay further action on the subject of litigation pending the outcome of the suit and adjourned the hearing of the substantive originating summons to October 10, 2023.

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