Tompolo wants court to void sections of criminal justice law



The embattled former Niger Delta militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, has filed a fresh action before the Federal High Court, Lagos, asking for an interpretation and nullification of certain sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The applicant, in the new action, declared that the orders of arrest made against him by the court affected his constitutional rights.

Justice Ibrahim Buba had on January 14, 2016, issued a warrant for arrest of Tompolo. On January 27, 2016, Tompolo filed an application before the court, to set aside the said warrant of arrest. On February 8, 2016, the said application was argued and dismissed by the court.

Tompolo thereafter filed an appeal against the ruling of the court, on February 18, 2016. Tompolo’s appeal was entered at the Court of Appeal on March 3, 2016, following which his team of legal practitioners has filed the Appellant’s brief of argument in the said appeal, awaiting the response of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Respondents in the new case are the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation, the EFCC, the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff.

Tompolo is contending that sections 221 and 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act are invalid and unconstitutional, in so far as they seek to prevent the court from exercising its jurisdiction to entertain any objection to a criminal charge and an application for a stay of proceedings pending appeal.

He is thus asking the court to stop his further trial until the determination of those issues.

Sections 221 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act states: “Objections shall not be taken or entertained during proceedings or trial on the ground of an imperfect or erroneous charge”, while Section 306 states that “An application for stay of proceedings in respect of a criminal matter before a court shall not be entertained.”

In the new case, Tompolo is also seeking, among other reliefs, an injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents, whether by themselves or by their servants, agents or privies, from filing or further filing, prosecuting or further prosecuting, any criminal charge or information, especially Charge No.FHC/L/553C/2015 – Federal Republic of Nigeria v Government Ekpemupolo (Alias Tompolo) & 9 Ors., Charge No. FHC/L/31C/2016 – Federal Republic of Nigeria v Ekpemupolo Chief Government Oweize & 12 Ors. against the applicant.

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