APC staff’s detention by SSS ‘unjustifiable’ – Court

SSS Officials

A federal judge has criticized the State Security Service, SSS, for arresting and detaining five staff of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in a raid Saturday, November 22.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Monday freed the five staff, saying they were detained without justification.

“The arrest and detention of a person for the purpose of obtaining information is clearly a violation of Section 35 of the Constitution,” the judge said. “It is clear that there is a contravention of Section 35 and the applicants were not properly brought before a competent court of jurisdiction.”

Chinedu Atuche, Fayemi Olaposi, Augustine Onuchukwu, Ebun Ilori, and Esther Enemuwe were arrested on November 22 after SSS operatives, accompanied by police officers, raided a building which the APC said was its data office at Allen Avenue, Lagos.

The SSS accused the staff of “unwholesome activities”.

In his ruling, Judge Yunusa said the detention of the applicants for more than a week without charging them to court was “not justifiable.”

Noting that the matter was not a criminal trial, the judge restrained the SSS from further arrests of the applicants pending the determination of the substantive suit.

He also ordered the applicants not to travel outside the country without informing the court.

The judge adjourned till 19th January, 2015, for hearing of the substantive suit.

The applicants – three males and two females – were brought to court on Monday in an unmarked Toyota Hiace bus accompanied by a patrol van with armed SSS operatives.

Looking exhausted and dishevelled, they stood in the aisle of the tiny, crowded court room while proceedings lasted.

After the judge finished reading out his ruling, they smiled before filing out of the court room, back into the SSS van.

Last Wednesday, Mr. Yunusa had ordered the SSS and the Nigerian police to produce the detainees in court on Friday.

But the agency failed to produce the detained staff on Friday, their lawyer claiming that they were unaware of the court’s order.

Just like last Friday, there was no legal representation for the Nigerian Police on Monday.

Clifford Osagie, counsel to the SSS, said the agency was unable to produce the applicants last Friday because they received the court’s order late on Thursday.

“The DG (Director General) of the second respondent (the SSS) was notified on Friday and he directed compliance immediately.

“We have also filed processes in response to the application before this court.”

Yemi Osibajo, counsel to the APC, said he received the SSS’ application on Monday morning.

“Our application at this point is that in the light of the Constitutional provision especially Section 35 guarantees the personal liberty of these Nigerian citizens who by the way have been in detention since November 22nd,” said Mr. Osibajo, a former Attorney General of Lagos State and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

“They have not been allowed access to any member of their family. There is no criminal charge, even if there were, it does not in any way offer a basis for the detention of these individuals without any kind of charge.

“The continued violation of their rights should not be allowed to continue.”

While acknowledging the constitutional right to liberty, Mr. Osagie noted that the Constitution is not absolute especially when it comes to matters of criminality.

Mr. Osagie said the SSS obtained a remand warrant for the applicants to be kept in detention pending the conclusion of their investigation into allegations of forgery and electoral offences.

“Their release will compromise the investigation that is ongoing, particularly that some of the applicants are at large.

“This court is enjoined to enable the second respondent perform its statutory duty. These are very trying times.”

Mr. Osagie also denied that the applicants were denied access to their families, noting that they were flown into Lagos from Abuja to attend the proceedings.

A “perverted remand order”

In his argument, Mr. Osibajo questioned the legality of the remand warrant used by the SSS for the arrest of the applicants.

“It is incredible indeed that counsel will say there is a remand order. This perverted remand order is from a magistrate court somewhere in Kaduna. For an offence allegedly committed in Lagos,” said Mr. Osibajo.

“If there is to be a remand, it has to be a court that has jurisdiction. That is the law.

“Clearly, there is no basis for this purported remand order,” he said.

Mr. Osibajo also said it was unlawful for the SSS to have arrested the APC staff without sufficient evidence.

“You cannot detain a Nigerian citizen pending investigation.

“This remand order which does not even bear the name of the particular court was on the 24th of November. This arrest was on the 22nd of November. It even means that the applicants were detained illegally for two days.

“This document purporting to be a remand order, aside from the fact that we don’t even know the court, it bears the stamp of the SSS, I don’t know the reason that.

“The fourth and fifth respondents reported at the SSS office and they were arrested and detained.”

Mr. Osajie, however, argued that even where a court lacked jurisdiction to issue a warrant, it had a duty to remand suspects.

The applicants had filed an action before the court last Wednesday seeking an enforcement of their fundamental rights.

The SSS had justified its action by claiming that their raid was based on a petition it received alleging “unwholesome activities” inside the building at the location.

“Based on this information, the service placed the building under surveillance and having been convinced that some unwholesome activities were going on in the building, it undertook a raid of the premises,” the SSS said in a statement penultimate Sunday.

In addition to the arrested staff, documents and computer hard drives were also confiscated by the operatives.

But last Wednesday, Mr. Yunusa granted the applicants’ requests by ordering that the detained staff be produced before the court.

The judge also ordered the SSS to unseal the building where the arrest took place. He also granted an interim injunction restraining them from further shutting the building or taking any step in connection with the property pending the determination of the substantive suit.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: Revealed!!! The Only Way Left of Getting an Extra Large Manhood and also Last Up to 38Mins+. Get the Insider Secret Here


TEXT AD: This NAFDAC APPROVED Solution Will Make You Stay Longer Than 40Mins In Bed Tonight And Help Your Erection. Click Here To Read The Free Reports


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Nwa Aba {Biafran}

    APC have infiltrated our judicial system
    with Fulani judges

    • Dr. Kay

      Your spare part selling or 419 yahoo yahoo job has made it difficult for you to think like an educated person abi? You are just as dumb as Dumbo. You can’t grasp the logic and concept of a case abi? Go figure.

      • Nwa Aba {Biafran}

        Must you be a professor before you come here?
        from selling spare parts to importation and properties
        now resident of most expensive footballers quarters in Cheshire
        I’m pretty sure i can buy you

        • Funso Ogunsanya

          Its really sad that there are peolle like u in this Country. SAD!!!

          • Jika

            Very sad indeed.

          • Nwa Aba {Biafran}

            Meaning?

          • mike

            Mr Nwa Aba you probably think that the whole SS belongs to Igbos. That was the mentality of your people during the civil war and the reason you guys failed to get the support of SS people.
            Your criminal minds are occupied with greed and quest for I’ll gotten wealth. You can continue with your crime all over the world but don’t you ever delude yourself with the thought that the SS is part igbo land.

        • concernedcitizen2014

          clap for yourself Oga Biafra. You invaded there territory and occupied the people of the South South forcefully, the federal forces liberated them. Now you are willing to follow one of them, with all your “mind” with all your “heart” and will all of your “spirit”. I always ask what is the idea of Biafra. Can a none Igbo buy into it and apply for a passport to enter into the Country Biafra, just like you get a passport, visa, stay or citizenship to be part of the idea called America. What is the economic philosophy of Biafra? What kind of government will be run, parliamentary or presidential? What will be the foreign policy trust? In the line of the above what daily steps are the conscious Igbo doing to realise the idea of Biafra, beyonding supporting Ebelomo/Ebelechukwu for president.

          • Nwa Aba {Biafran}

            Can you invade your own country?
            1967 to 1995 their was nothing like SE, SE, SW, NE NW, and NC
            it was a ploy by Abacha to separate the people of former Eastern region
            both Peter Odili and Gov Amechi are Igbo from SS
            we will never allow Fulani’s to tell us where we belong

        • Kolawole Obafemi

          Buy him for money ritual?

  • Wähala

    “This document purporting to be a remand order, aside from the fact that we don’t even know the court, it bears the stamp of the SSS, I don’t know the reason that” – Yemi Osibajo (SAN)

    Just like they furnished “Oluwole paperwork” five days after South African authorities detained Oletsejaofr’s gun-running and money-laundering jet, the DSS has joined the IGP in assuming the role of Judge & Jury in Nigeria under Dr. Dumbo… Impunity Incorporated! Mary Magdalene has rushed to occupy the seat recently left by the retired CJN Muhktar and she’s now rubber-stamping DSS arrest warrants and detaining innocent Nigerians before conducting requisite investigations to see if any they broke any laws. “Upside get im meaning too… head for ground, yansh for up” – indeed! Abegi, I dey busy with bookkeeping, jare. Nonsense!

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    All Nigerian state security agencies are more or less arms of PDP led by opresident Ebele Jonathan, as state agencies have been turned upside down on their heads.President uses security agencies especially DSS where he installed his ethnic/tribal/religious bigot-element in the person of Marilyn Ogar as spokeperson for DSS which president Jonathan uses as a weapon against opposition APC with invasion and ransacking of Lagos-APC offices like what the former American president Richard Nison did to Democratic party in the seventies which cost him his presidency with outright impeachment from office.President Jonathan is an arrogant criminal who sponsors Boko Haram against Nigerian state and continues with impunity style of governance.Jonathan must go!

  • Mr. Abdin

    IMPUNITY AT WORK.

  • Kayode A. Esquire

    Editor Premium Times,

    THE JUDGE GOT IT ALL WRONG

    In law, the continuing detention of these five accused persons is perfectly legal.
    The detainees’ release will surely compromise the “investigation that is ongoing,
    particularly that some of the applicants are at large
    ,” according to the SSS.

    The presiding Judge (Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court, Lagos)
    got it all wrong, as reported here, not only for issuing a mandatory injunction to fetter
    the SSS from performing its statutory duty, but also for declaring the matter NOT criminal.

    Courts of law are NOT set up to investigate crimes. SSS is the one set up to do that.
    Where a state institution (SSS) is engaged in crime-detection a court ought not to bar it.
    It is wrong for any Court of law to pre-judge an issue under investigation as “non-criminal”.

    • Seemeseetrouble

      ….AND HOW COURT JUDGES AID CRIMINALS’ ESCAPE IN NIGERIA

      Oluwaseun Ogunbambo, an oil trader, who is being prosecuted over an alleged
      N979.6 million subsidy fraud, and who allegedly obtained separate loans of N230
      million and N430 million from Stanbic IBTC Plc in 2010 with forged documents,
      has fled Nigeria, helped by bail granted by a High Court. He’s now left both the
      EFCC and the presiding court Judge looking perplexed at court files.

      “Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo had on August 1, 2012 denied Mr Ogunbambo
      bail after he was arraigned along with Habila Theck and their firm – Fargo Energy
      on six counts of fraudulently collecting N976.6m from the Federal Government
      purportedly as payment for subsidy on importation of petrol,”

      according to Channels Television.

      The accused was however on August 19, 2012, released on bail by
      Justice Lateefat Folami, a vacation judge, who the accused turned to during the
      original judges’ annual vacation. Mr Ogunbambo had asked Justice Folami for
      bail on the grounds of health. The judge had granted the bail despite admitting
      that his grounds of ill health were “unmeritorious”.

      • Paul Imafidon

        Has the Justice Lateefat Folami faced NJC Disciplinary Hearing for this?
        If no, then, i think Nigeria is a failed state – no need to doubt that again.

    • Olutola

      Esquire or Squirrel? Shior.

      • Chioma Okey-Isima

        Look, he is talking sense.What kind of Judge is this? Some of the people applying for bail are on the run.
        Judge now gave bail to the fugitives! What kind of Judge is that? The SSS should go inside the APC Data
        Centre office now and seize everything inside. That is the effect the nonsense order the Judge gave to
        SSS to leave the crime scene. Therefore SSS should go there right now and pack out everything inside.