The Kano State Government filed an application today in Federal High Court seeking an injunction against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to restrain its budget investigation.
The injunction, if granted, would restrain EFCC agents from investigating the Kano State budget for 2012 and 2013. The case filed in Federal High Court, Keno, lawsuit FHC/K/CS/06/2014, is pending before Justice Fatu Riman of Court 2. The injunction would provide protections against investigation and arrest of officers and political appointees.
The motion was supported by a 30-paragraph affidavit sworn to by the Kano State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Yusuf Bello Danbatta.
Justice Fatu Riman is the youngest Federal High Court judge in Nigeria, and legal commentators are watching to see how she will rule in this case.
In 2013 Judge Riman convicted Aminu Sule Lamido, the 34 year old son of Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for money laundering. The court ordered him to forfeit 25 per cent of the undeclared $40,000.
Legal commentators see the Keno State Government request for an injunction as a repeat of a tactic used by former Keno State Governor Peter Odili.
In 2008 Peter Odili governed Rivers State, with its annual budget of Naira 150 billion. Most of the state's five million residents had no power, clean water or access to schools and clinics. The government collapsed during Odili's tenure. A 2007 Human Rights Watch report analyzing the Rivers State budget for 2006 discovered a $65,000 a day travel allowance for the governor's office alone.
The report caught the attention of the EFCC. Before Odili stepped down, however, he sought an injunction to prevent the investigation by the EFCC into the Rivers State finances and provide himself with judicial immunity.
Odili's wife is a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The EFCC appealed the injunction request, but the appeal is yet to be decided.