By Innocent Anaba
Former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), has challenged the warrant of arrest issued by a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, to compel his appearance in court to answer to the criminal charge preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
He is praying the court to discharge the bench warrant issued against him.
EFCC, in the charge, had accused Tompolo and others of diverting the sum of N34 billion belonging to the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, had on January 12, 2016, following an application by EFCC’s counsel, issued a bench warrant for Tompolo’s arrest.
In the application challenging the bench warrnt issued against him, Tompolo is arguing that the EFCC did not follow due process of law in applying for an order of substituted service of the criminal charge against him, adding that no service of the charge was effected as directed by the court before the EFCC applied for a warrant of arrest against him.
He is further claiming, through his counsel, Mr Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, that up till the time of filing the application, he had not been served with the criminal charge nor indeed any warrant of arrest.
According to him, whereas he was prepared to appear in court and answer to any charge against him, he insists that due process of law must be followed and his rights under the law be guaranteed, especially the right to be notified and served with the charge against him.
He also called the attention of the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff and indeed the Navy to the fact that he is challenging the order made against him, so that overzealous persons do not take advantage of the court process to attempt to trample on his legal rights.