The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has acknowledged that it “visited” Justice Ita Mbaba, the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division, at her residence in Kano.
A press release signed by the Head, Media and Publicity of the commission, Wilson Uwujaren however denied that the honourable justice was under investigation.
The EFCC says that “While it is true that commission visited the property located on Sheik Yusuf Adam Game street, off Race Cross Road, Nassarawa Government Reservation Area, Kano, the commission was there in respect of a subsisting matter involving the owner of the property and there is no truth, linkage or nexus with any investigation of the Honourable Justice of the Court of Appeal as available facts showed that Hon. Justice Mbaba is not the owner of the property.”
The Commission reaffirmed its commitment to treating all members of the judiciary with the utmost respect and its pledge not to put them in a position of public humiliation.
Early on Wednesday morning, Mr. Adesina Adegbite, the general secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, tweeted on his Twitter account, “Armed operatives who claimed to be from EFCC invaded the premises of the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Kano Division in the early hours of this morning. When will this madness stop? We will surely not let this slide. #impunitymustend.”
Mr. Adegbite later verified over the phone with Channels TV’s judiciary correspondent Shola Soyele, that EFCC agents arrived to the home as early as 5.30 am on Wednesday.
While the agents were able to enter the jurists’ compound, he said, they were unable to enter the main structure. He acknowledged that the early-morning “invasion” might have been an instance of mistaken identity, but he questioned why the agency did not manage the operation more effectively.
Members of the legal community responded to Mr. Adegbite’s tweet right after, expressing concern over the situation, especially in light of the enormous outcry that had accompanied the anti-graft agency’s recent raid of houses and subsequent incarceration of some Supreme Court judges.
Despite the EFCC’s silence over the main questions surrounding the property and its ownership, Shola Soyele, a judiciary journalist for Channels Television, learned that the organization thinks the house was purchased using the proceeds of crime.
A source at the commission acknowledged that the goal of the EFCC’s “visit” was to locate the property and confirm both its existence and its present condition. It is rumored that the Court of Appeal is renting the property out to the Kano division’s presiding judge.
Yakubu Maikyau, the president of the NBA, is reportedly conducting inquiries to determine what actually transpired. The NBA will then reportedly release a press release on the incident.