The Department of State Services (DSS) on Friday failed to produce Ifeanyi Ubah, the detained managing director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, before a federal high court in Lagos.
The security agency told the court it was acting on the order of an Abuja high court authorising it to detain Ubah in its custody for at least 14 days.
The court had on May 9, ordered the DSS to produce Ubah “to prove to the court why he should not be released unconditionally.”
He was arrested by the security agency over the alleged diversion of petroleum products worth N11bn.
During his arrest, the DSS had said Ubah “undermined national security and public order” through his conduct.
Ubah had, however, filed a lawsuit against the security agency for detaining him “unlawfully”.
Ifeoma Esom, Ubah’s counsel, had urged Mohammed Idris, the presiding judge, to order the agency to release Ubah “so as to prevent the security agency from coercing him to accede to whatever conditions they impose on him in exchange for his freedom.”
But Peter Oluremodu, the DSS counsel, appeared before Idris on Friday with a notice of objection to the order to produce Ubah in court.
Oluremodu said the order is in compliance with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Ajibola Oluyede, Ubah’s lawyer, urged the judge to hold that the secret police obtained the order to frustrate the initial order to produce Ubah in court, and amounted to challenge of the court’s majesty.
The judge, however, ruled that he will not make any order that will have effect of neutralising the effect of the order made by the High Court of FCT.
“On May 9, 2017, upon hearing the applicant’s ex-parte application, the court directed the fourth and fifth applicants to produce the applicant in court today,” he said.
“From the record of the court, it shows that the ruling was served on the respondents on May 10, 2015, by 10 am. It was also shown that the respondents on the same day obtained an order remanding the applicant from my learned brother Halilu J of FCT high court.
“In line with the order made on May 10, 2017, I will not make an order to produce the applicant since parties in the case have been served.”
The court was adjourned till May 18 for further hearing.