From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Department of State Security Service (DSS) has released eight of the 12 associates of Yoruba activist Sunday “Igboho” Adeyamo after 60 days in detention.
The release of the detainees was on the heels of a warrant of release that was signed by Justice Obiora Evwuatu of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court.
The twelve were granted bail by the court on August 4 on different terms and conditions.
Those who regained their freedom on Monday are Abdulateef Ademola, Tajudeen Irinloye, Diekola Jubril, Ayobami Donald, Uthman Opeyemi, Olakunle Oluwapelumi, Raji Kazeem, and Taiwo Opeyemi, who are the 1st,3rd,4th, 7th,8th,9th,10th and 11th, respectively., while the remaining four detainees Amudat Habibat, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Oyetunji and Bamidele Sunday are still been held by the DSS.
Addressing reporters on the development, an elated counsel to the associates, Pelumi Olajengbesi, explained that the four others were not released due to some technical legal issue that needed to be sorted out.
‘Ordinarily, they should have released every single person as ordered by the court, but we have some technical legal issue, that we think should quickly be resolved and we agree with them,’ Olajengbesi said.
‘This time, we do not want to preempt that the DSS is trying to manipulate or deviate from the court order. The beauty of what has happened now is to show that in every circumstance that the law must prevail.
‘We are glad that they have regained their freedom and are now out. These are innocent citizens from their statements and experience with the DSS, it could not bring any charge or anything against them after 60 days. So we are glad that their freedom has come at last. We thank all Nigerians who stood by us in this struggle including some senior lawyers for their support.’
The operatives of the DSS had raided Igboho’s house in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital on July 1, and arrested 12 of his aides who were illegally detained for weeks, before the victims went ahead to challenge their detention and rights’ abuse in court.
Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja had on August 4 granted bail to the 12 associates of Sunday Igboho.
Delivering the ruling on the application filed by the 12 applicants before the court, the presiding judge said ‘it is clear that no charge has been brought against Sunday Igboho’s aides since their arrest.’
As such, the court held that detaining them without charging them contravenes the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and their fundamental rights.
Eight of the applicants, the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th applicants, were granted bail in the sum of N5 million each in like sum and to produce a surety resident in Abuja.
The remaining four applicants, the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 12th applicants, were granted bail in the sum of N10 million each with two sureties in like sum, who must also be residents in Abuja.
The DSS and its Director General have filed an appeal before the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal against the ruling of the trial court
A copy of the appeal reads: Bichi and the DSS ‘do hereby appeal to the Court of Appeal upon the grounds set out in paragraph 3 and will at the hearing of the appeal seek the relief(s) set out in paragraph 4.
‘And the Appellant further states that the names and addresses of the persons directly affected by the appeal are those set out in paragraph 5.’
It added that part of the decision of the court complained of is the “part of the decision relating to the grant of bail to the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 12th Applicants, Respondents.”
The DSS opposed their bail as seen in the five-page appeal suit dated August 13, stating three grounds of appeal.
The DSS filed the appeal through its legal representatives who comprising Idowu Awo, I Onotu and U Batife and OA Adelayo.
The DSS, in part of its grounds partly stated that ‘the Learned Trial Judge erred in law and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice when the Honourable Court held that the facts raised in the oral response to the oral bail application of the 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 12th Respondents were not grounded in Appellants Affidavit, thereby denying the Appellants fair hearing.
‘The Learned Trial Judge erred in law and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice when the Honourable Court failed to order parties to file written addresses or affidavits when contentious issues were raised by Appellants.
‘The Learned Trial Judge erred in law when he held that Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) which set out the circumstances wherein bail should be refused to Respondents only applies where there is a valid charge before the Court.’
Identifying some of what it described as ‘Particulars of Error’, the DSS stated that ‘the Appellants opposed the grant of bail to 2nd, 5th, 6th and 12th Respondents and raised several substantial disputes as to facts why these set of Respondents should not be granted bail.
‘The Respondents did not file a written bail application to enable the Appellants to file a counter affidavit wherein those facts raised could be deposed to.’