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Binance executive drags Ribadu to court over detention

Binance executive drags Ribadu to court over detention

 

The detained Binance executive, Tigran Gambaryan, has sued Nuhu Ribadu, the national security adviser (NSA) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged violation of his fundamental rights.

 

According to NAN on Thursday, Gambaryan, in the originating motion dated and filed March 18 by his lawyer, Olujoke Aliyu, from Aluko and Oyebode Law Firm, sought five reliefs before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

 

Also, Anjarwalla filed a separate right enforcement suit before Ekwo.

 

 

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24, had sued the ONSA and EFCC as 1st and 2nd respondents.

 

The duo sought the same relief.

 

Gambaryan, a US citizen, in his application, sought a declaration that his detention and seizure of his international travel passport contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

 

He said the act amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by the constitution.

 

 

The Binance executive also sought an order directing the respondents to release him from their custody and return his international travel passport with immediate effect.

 

Gambaryan equally sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and agents from further detaining him in relation to any investigation into or demands from Binance.

 

Also, he sought an order for the respondents to issue a public apology to him, and also prayed for the cost of the action on a full indemnity basis.

 

In a statement in support of the suit, Gambaryan said he is an American citizen who visited Nigeria on February 26, along with his colleague to honour the invitation of the ONSA and EFCC to discuss issues relating to Binance in Nigeria.

 

Giving an 11-ground argument as to why his application should be granted, Gambaryan said he and his colleague, Anjarwalla, dutifully attended the meeting.

 

Gambaryan said after the meeting, they were detained by the respondents and had remained in detention since then, adding that he did not commit any offence during the meeting, nor was he informed in writing of any offence he committed in Nigeria at any other time.

 

“The only reason for his detention is because the government is requesting information from Binance and making demands on the company,” he said,

 

Gambaryan also said he was not a member of the board of directors of Binance.

 

 

When the two suits were called on Thursday, Tonye Krukrubo, appeared for Anjarwalla and Gambaryan

 

Krukrubo told the court that though the respondents were served two days ago, they were not represented in court.

 

The lawyer, however, drew the attention of the court to their notice of withdrawal of legal representation for Anjarwalla filed on March 26, without giving details of why they were withdrawing their legal representation.

 

Also, upon resumed hearing in Gambaryan’s suit, Krukrubo said though the processes had been served on ONSA and EFCC, they were still within time to respond.

 

He, therefore, sought an adjourned date, saying the respondents’ time to file their applications would expire next week Thursday.

 

In his judgement, Ekwo said having withdrawn their legal representation, “it means that the applicant has no legal representation and requires that the matter be adjourned for the applicant to seek legal representation and for the respondents to be given an opportunity to come to court”.

 

The judge adjourned the matter until April 8 for further mention.

 

 

Recall on February 28, Gambaryan was detained, alongside Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, by the Nigerian authorities after honouring the invitation of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA) and EFCC to discuss issues relating to the company’s operation in Nigeria.

 

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla’s passports were seized by ONSA.

 

However, on March 25, Anjarwalla escaped from custody and fled Nigeria with a smuggled passport.

 

 

Before escaping custody, on March 12, Anjarwalla was reported to have fallen ill while in detention.

 

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