From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday, flauted the order of the Federal High Court as it failed to produce 12 of Sunday Igboho’s aides held in their custody.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Abuja court had, last week, ordered the secret police to produce the detainees on July 29 raid on Igboho house in Ibadan.
He further ordered the DSS to appear before the court to show why the applicants should not be released unconditionally.
The order followed an exparte application argued by the applicants’ lawyer, Mr Pelumi Olajeingbesi, wherein he informed the court that the applicants have been in custody of the DSS since July 1, 2021.
They were arrested during a midnight raid on Igboho’s residence in Ibadan, Oyo State and subsequently brought to Abuja.
However, when the matter came up, yesterday, DSS’ lawyer, Idowu Awo, informed the court that the detained applicants could not be produced in court because of the nature of their arrest, adding that investigation is still ongoing.
Awo stated that he had filed a counter affidavit to explain the dimensions and sophistication of the investigation being carried out on the detainees.
He added that the DSS obtained an order of court permitting the detention of the applicants for 14 days to interrogate them.
Besides, the counsel submitted that some names on the Federal High Court order were at variance with the list of those being detained, adding that only four out 12 names corresponded with that of DSS.
Responding, Olajeingbesi urged the court to sanction the DSS for disrespecting its lawful order to produce the detainees in court.
He faulted the detention order tendered by DSS, adding that the order was not certified as required by law for public documents.
The counsel argued that it was wrong for the DSS to have detained the applicants for 25 days without charging them to court or granting them administrative bail.
Arguing further, Olajengbesi said it is Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) whose residence was raided on July 1 that was the target of the DSS and not the applicants, adding that they were only unfortunate to be there during the raid.
Reacting, the judge stated that the DSS ought to first obey its orders to produce the applicants before explaining why it should continue to keep them in custody.
Justice Egwuatu explained that what was at stake is the liberty of Nigerian citizens and that it was the duty of the court to protect it when called upon to do so, as in the instant case.
He, accordingly, adjourned till August 2 for the DSS to produce the applicants in court.
The judge also ordered the security agency to allow the counsel to the detainees access to them before the adjourned date.
Applicants in the matter are Abdulateef Ofeyagbe, Amoda Babatunde, Tajudeen Erinoyen, Diakola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah and Ayobami Donald.