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Court bars banks from ‘instigating’ Kashamu’s arrest


The Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday barred
five commercial banks from instigating Senator
Buruji Kashamu’s arrest by security agencies over
an alleged debt.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke made an order of
perpetual injunction restraining the banks and
their officers from instigating the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) to arrest,
interrogate or detain Kashamu.

It is with regards to “an innocuous and
unblemished civil contractual transaction” between
Kashamu and the banks.

The banks are Ecobank Nigeria Limited, Union Bank
Plc, Enterprise Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and First
City Monument Bank Plc.

The judge declared that the EFCC and the police
were not empowered to act as debt collectors.

Kashumu sued along with his companies: Kasmal
Properties Limited, Hotel De Island Limited, Nacoil
International Limited, Hotel De Island Bureau De
Change Limited, Island Auto International
Limited, Daily Capital Microfinance Limited and
Kasmal Group of Companies.

They claimed the banks were being used by his
political opponents to send the EFCC after him over
loans he obtained.

“The applicants’ relationships with the third to
seventh respondents (banks) are purely banker/
customer relationships with valuable security
collaterising all loans taken from the banks and
therefore devoid of criminality as to justify
reference to law enforcement agents.

“The first and second respondents (EFCC and IGP)
are agencies of government charged with the
responsibility of combating economic and financial
crimes respectively in Nigeria.

“In the course of their relationships with the third
to seventh respondents (banks), the plaintiffs have
not committed any economic, financial or general
crime as to warrant being reported to and or
interrogated and detained by the first and second

“I believe that the indebtedness of a customer to
his bank is not a crime under the laws of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Kashamu said in a
supporting affidavit.

He urged the court to declare that the respondents
had violated his fundamental rights to liberty and
to own property under sections 35 and 44 of the
1999 Constitution for harassing, intimidating,
arresting and threatening him with detention.

However, Ecobank asked the court to dismiss or
strike out Kashamu’s suit for being a gross abuse
of the court processes.

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