- Seeks permission to further detain 4 of them for another 14 days
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Department of State Services, DSS, on Wednesday, gave reasons before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, why four out of the 12 persons it arrested at the residence of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, should not be released from detention.
The security agency, through its lawyer, Mr. I. Awo, told the court that its investigations revealed that the four detained associates of Igboho- Amudat Habitat Babatunde, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah Oyetunji and Bamidele Sunday- weres deeply involved in the stock piling of arms.
The DSS told the court that it believes that the four Applicants would escape from the country like Igboho, once released from detention and would not make themselves available for further investigation or trial.
It told the court that principal of the four Applicants, Igboho, is currently standing criminal trial in Benin Republic, after he was declared wanted in Nigeria.
“Rather than to turn himself in, he decided to flee this country. There is no guarantee that these four applicants will not follow same if released on bail.
“There are credible information on how friends, family and associates of these same four Applicants are making contacts with potential witnesses identified by the DSS.
“Some have been pressurized not to turn up in an event that they will be tried.
“These 4 Applicants will jeopardize ongoing investigation if realeased.
“Finally, it is our submission that once investigation is concluded, the Respondents will not hesitate to charge them to court.
“At that point, we may conceed to an accelerated trial. We do not want to take for granted the safety of our potential witnesses.
“We therefore ask this court to deny these four Applicants bail, in order not frustrate this process”, counsel to the DSS added.
It prayed the court for leave to further detain the four Applicants for another 14 days to enable it to conclude its investigations.
The security agency said it was however not opposed to request for eight other persons it arrested at Igboho’s residence on July 1, to be released on bail by the court.
The eight detained Applicants the DSS said its investigations revealed that they had minimal involvement in Igboho’s alleged criminal activities, are- Abdulateef Ademola Onaolapo, Tajudeen Irinyole, Diekola Jubril Ademola, Ayobami Donald and Uthman Opeyemi Adelabu.
Meanwhile, counsel to the Applicants, Mr. Pelumi Olajengbesi, urged the court to discountenance the submission by counsel to the DSS and release the 12 detained persons on bail.
Decrying that it took the intervention of the court before the DSS could allow him to have access to the Applicants, Olajengbesi argued that investigation could not be indefinite.
He noted that an earlier order that allowed the DSS to detain the Applicants for 14 days had since expired.
“It will be an affront on our Constitution and gross violation of their fundamental human rights if the Applicants are allowed to remain in custody of the Respondents.
“The Respondents do not need 34 days to investigate the persons it claimed that it found with fire arms”, Olajengbesi submitted.
Relying on 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, Olajengbesi, prayed the court to release the 12 Applicants on bail unconditionally.
Cited as 1st and 2nd Respondents in the fundamental right enforcement suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/647/2021, are the Director General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, and the DSS itself.
Meanwhile, Justice Obiora Egwuatu stood the case down to write his ruling.