A federal high court in Abuja has restated an order asking the Department of State Services (DSS) to produce supporters of Sunday Igboho who were arrested in Oyo state.
The DSS on July 1 raided Igboho’s residence in Oyo and arrested 12 supporters of the activist, who allegedly attacked the operatives during the raid.
The supporters were subsequently moved to the federal capital territory (FCT) where they have been in detention.
Owing to their detention, the suspects through their lawyer, Pelumi Olajemgbesi, filed an application asking the court to “inquire into the circumstances constituting grounds of their arrest and detention since July 2, 2021, and where it deems fit admit applicants on bail”.
They also asked for an order “mandating and compelling the respondents to produce the applicants before this honourable court and show cause as to why the applicants should not be granted bail in accordance with the provisions of section 32 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015”.
Ruling on the application, Obiora Egwatu, the judge, said there was merit in the application and ordered the DSS to produce the applicants in court on July 29.
The service, however, failed to produce the applicants in court on Thursday.
I. Awo, counsel to the respondent, explaining the DSS’s failure to produce the applicants, told the court that he had filed an affidavit of 16 paragraphs on July 27 stating that except the second, fourth and twelfth applicants, the other applicants in the order are not the ones in DSS custody.
He said the investigation of the applicants has “assumed a wider dimension” which required some of them to be taken to various places to verify some information.
He appealed to the court to give a short adjournment during which the investigation will be concluded.
On his part, Olajemgbesi, applicants’ counsel, argued that it is wrong for the respondent to detain the applicants for over 25 days owing to investigations and to disobey the court’s order.
He prayed the court to admit the applicants to bail in order to show the respondent that the court is above them.
He also asked the court to sanction the respondent for a “deliberate and utter disrespect of the court“ and to order the respondent to allow them see the applicants in detention.
The judge said there is no reason why the respondent should not have produced the applicants in court, adding that it failure to do so does not show respect to the court.
“The court takes liberty of citizens seriously,” he said.
The judge in his ruling made an order directing the DSS to allow the applicants’ counsel see the applicants and for the DSS to produce them in court on August 2, 2021 for continuation of hearing.