By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The alleged mastermind of the April 14 bomb blast that killed over 75 persons at a crowded motor park in Nyanya Abuja, Aminu Ogwuche, yesterday, begged a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to order his immediate release from detention.
In an ex-parte application he filed through a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Ahmed Raji, Ogwuche, told the court that since July 15, 2014, when he was arrested in Khartoum, Sudan and extradited to Nigeria, he said the Federal government has neither arraigned, tried nor granted him administrative bail despite several demands.
Premising his application on section 34, 35, 36, 41 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, Articles 2, 6, 7(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right ( Ratification& Enforcement Act), the accused person, told the trial court that he has been denied access to his family members, medical personnel or counsel.
“The applicant is a Nigerian citizen and a student of the international University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan. The applicant is a decent young man of 29 years trying to forge ahead academically with the hopes of a brilliant future. He has no criminal record.
“That on 15th July, 2014, the applicant was abducted in Khartoum -Sudan, brought to Nigeria by the Respondents and has since been in the custody of the Respondents.
“That on 2nd May 2014, some officers and men of the 1st Respondent invaded the family’s private apartment at No 7, Paul Adimagu Close, Malali, GRA, Kaduna seeking information in connection with a telephone line- 08163311384 owned by Jamilu Sadiq.
“Jamilu Sadiq was subsequently arrested with three other domestic staff and detained in the 1st Respondents quarters from 2nd to 7th May 2014. They were however released as nothing incriminating was credited to their record.
“The Respondents further requested to know the whereabouts of the applicant as a Student of the international University of Africa, Khartoum, Sudan.
”The applicant since his arrest and detention has been denied access to his family members, medical personnel or counsel.
“That unless this ex-parte application is granted in the interim and as a matter of urgency ( pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion) the respondent will continue to violate the applicant’s rights which are guaranteed under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended.
”That the health of the applicant is under serious threat having not seen his medical personnel for about 12 weeks.
“That the grant of this interim application will reduce the hardship being meted out on the applicant by his continued detention by the respondents, particularly the 1st Respondent’s refusal to grant the applicant access to his solicitor, physician and family members”, Raji begged the court through an affidavit in support of the motion.
More so, he applied for, “An interim order granting bail to the applicant or releasing the applicant forthwith conditionally or unconditionally, pending the determination of the substantive originating motion in this matter.
“An interim order restraining the respondent from continued arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of the applicant, his family, relations and or business interests pending the determination of the substantive originating motion.
As well as “An interim order directing the respondent particularly the 1st Respondent to produce the applicant in court for the hearing of the originating motion in this matter pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion”.
Joined as 1st and 2nd Respondents in the motion were the State Security Service and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Meantime, trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi yesterday adjourned hearing on the bail request till November 24.
It will be recalled that planned arraignment of the suspect on the last adjourned date, September 26, suffered setback owing to bickering between the Department of State Service, DSS, and the Nigerian Police Force, over which of them should be allowed to conduct the trial.
Sequel to a heated argument that ensued between lawyers from the two security agencies, Justice Adeniyi adjourned to enable the federal government to put its house in order.
The government had in its bid to expedite the process of extraditing the accused person from Sudan where he escaped to shortly after the terrorist attack, entered a three-count criminal charge before the high court.
The charge which was endorsed by the Inspector General of Police, was still pending before the high court when the accused person was successfully returned to the country with the help of the Interpol in Sudan.
Meanwhile, upon taking custody of the accused person, the DSS, promptly approached the high court for an order permitting it to retain him in detention until the conclusion of investigations into the matter.
Following the DSS application which was filed before another judge of the high court, the agency was granted 90 days to conduct and conclude its investigations.
Though Police lawyer, Mr. Oloye Torugbene, on the last date, made frantic efforts to dock the accused person, he was opposed by the DSS lawyer Mr. Clifford Osagie, who drew the attention of the court to the 90 days order of the sister court, noting that the investigative period had yet to elapse.
Osagie urged the Police to withdraw the pending charge which he said was only drafted for the purpose of securing the accused person back to the country.
Though the DSS declined to produce Ogwuche in court, it acknowledged his presence in its custody.
Ogwuche was in the charge before the court, alleged to have conspired with others (at large), to commit an act of terrorism by detonating improvised explosive devices at Nyanya Motor Park, which resulted in the death of 75 persons and injuring over a hundred other persons.
Count two of the charge reads, “That you, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, Male, and others now at large, on the 14th of April, 2014 at Nyanya, FCT, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did facilitate the activities of persons engaged in an act of terrorism; by detonating improvised explosive devices at the Nyanya motor park which resulted in the death of 75 persons and injuring over a hundred other persons.”
The alleged offences were said to be punishable under sections 1 (2) (d) and 17 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act of 2013.