The Nigeria Navy and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) yesterday informed a Federal High Court, Abuja, that a Lagos-based hotelier, Mr. Saibu Ogunmola, whom the court had directed them to produce before it is in custody of Department of State Security (DSS).
Ogunmola, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Peace and Love International Hotel, Igbo Eseyore, Snake Island, Lagos, has been in detention since January 17, after he was allegedly arrested by the men of Nigeria Navy.
Following the refusal of the navy to arraign him before any court, after being detained for over 90 days, his counsel, McAnthony Aikharialea, approached the court for an order for his release.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, had on April 17, granted an exparte application filed by the hotelier’s counsel, ordering the respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/287/2019, to appear before her with the hotelier and show cause why they refused to arraign him.
The respondents are the Nigerian Navy, Chief of Naval Staff, Commander, NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), as respondents. Only DIA filed a counter-affidavit to the application.
DIA through its counsel, C. O. Abodunde, had told the court that the Nigeria Navy, after the order had since moved the applicant from their custody with a concluded arrangement to hand him over to prosecuting government agency.
Also, Nigeria Navy, through its counter-affidavit filed and argued before the court by its counsel, Anthony Ebeh, and deposed to by Lieutenant Commodore Richard Iyinbo, also told the court that the applicant is not in its custody, adding that since its not a prosecuting agency, it has handed him over to the DSS for further investigation and possible prosecution.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter, the hotelier’s counsel, Aikharialea, while moving an application to join DSS in the suit, asked the court for a declaration that the arrest and detention of his client by all the respondents is a violation of his fundamental rights under sections 35, 41 and 41 of the constitution of Nigeria 1999.
The lawyer also asked the court for an order of N2.5 million as general damages for breach of client’s fundamental human rights. After listening to the submissions of parties, Justice Ojukwu, joined the DSS in the suit and adjourned till June 13, for further hearing.