For the second time, the Federal High Court, in Abuja, has ordered the State Service Service (SSS) to produce the 12 persons arrested at the residence of Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
The judge, Obiora Egwuatu, on Thursday, restated the order following the failure of the Nigerian secret police to produce the 12 detainees as directed by the judge on July 23.
The court had ordered the secret police to produce the 12 detainees and show cause why they should not be granted bail.
“An order is hereby made directing the respondent (SSS) to allow the applicants’ counsel have access to the applicants, and the respondents are ordered to produce the applicants on the next adjourned date. The suit is adjourned till August 2 for continuation of hearing,” the judge said.
Mr Egwuatu reminded the SSS of its battered public image of an institution that has gained notoriety in arbitrarily arrest and detention of Nigerians.
The judge advised the service to purge itself of such a negative public perception as it does not paint a good picture of Nigeria before the international community.
Why detainees were absent
The court’s earlier order followed a fundamental rights enforcement suit that the lawyers to the detained applicants, Pelumi Olajengbesi, filed on their behalf, pursuant to section 32(1) and (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, as well as sections 6(6), 35 and 36 of 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The 12 persons, who have been in SSS detention since July 2, are; Abdullateef Ofeyagbe, Amoda Babatunde (Aka Lady K), Tajudeen Erinoyen, Diakola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, and Jamiu Noah.
Others are Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman, Oluwafelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi and Bamidele Sunday.
However, at the resumed hearing on Thursday, counsel to the SSS, I. Awo informed the court that the service procured an order to hold the detainees.
Mr Awo based the absence of the 12 detainees on the grounds that investigation into the circumstances that led to their arrest at Mr Igboho’s home were ongoing.
He added that of the 12 detainees on the court’s order, only three were being held by the SSS.
Mr Awo listed the detainees in the SSS custody to include: Amoda Babatunde (Aka Lady K), Diakola Ademola and Bamidele Sunday.
But in a stern reaction to the SSS’ disobedience to the court order, Mr Olajengbesi, urged the court to reject the service’s explanation as it was in contempt of the court’s order.
“The apparent affront on the authority of the court by the SSS cannot be justified,” the applicants’ lawyer argued.
He urged the court to discountenance the purported detention order that was procured by the SSS, arguing that it was not a Certified True Copy (CTC), and admit his clients to bail.
In his arguments, Mr Olajengbesi informed the court that he had been denied access to his client, and urged the court to make an order in that regard.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that Mr Adeyemo was recently nabbed at the Cardinal Bernadin International Airport in Cotonou while he was trying to travel to Germany.
There are ongoing proceedings against him in the francophone country.
Nigeria’s secret police had on July 1, confirmed that its operatives stormed Igboho’s home in Ibadan in a bid to effect his arrest.
Addressing journalists at the headquarters of the SSS in Abuja, Peter Afunanya, the service’s spokesperson, said 13 suspects, including a female and 12 males, were arrested.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported how gunmen invaded Mr Igboho’s house, located in Soka, Ibadan, capital of Oyo State around 1:00 a.m. on Thursday.
His vehicles, including his G-wagon, Prado Jeep, and some valuable properties including furniture, and windows were reportedly vandalised.
The attack occurred barely 72 hours to the planned rally in Lagos by Mr Igboho and others to further canvas a Yoruba nation.
Mr Igboho had, in April, raised a similar alarm that his building was under siege. He claimed then that soldiers invaded his residence at midnight.
The army denied this at the time.
But confirming the early Thursday morning raid, Mr Afunaya said a total of seven AK 47 rifles were recovered, alongside pump-action guns and 5,000 rounds of ammunition including other weapons.
He said security operatives recovered the weapons after a “hot gun duel between them and Igboho’s guards.”
Mr Afunaya said two of Igboho’s men were killed in the process while a security agent was shot on the right hand and is currently responsible to treatment.
He added that aside from the rifles, other items recovered at Mr Igboho’s residence include 30 AK 47 magazines, 5,000 rounds of ammunition, three locally made bulletproof jacket and a German resident permit, amongst others.
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