Posted by News Express | 6 December 2014 | 2,983 times
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, directed the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke, to appear before the court over a suit filed against the Federal Government by Sadiq Ogwuche.
Ogwuche, the alleged mastermind of the April 14 bomb blast in Nyanya, Abuja, which killed over 75 persons at a crowded motor park, had been detained since July 15. He had fled to Sudan shortly after the bombing.
The decision by the court to invite the AGF came after counsel to the State Security Service (SSS), Mr. Clifford Osagie, had argued and adopted his counter affidavit in opposition to the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed against the Federal Government by Oguche’s counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN).
Raji had on Thursday told the court that Ogwuche is still being illegally detained by the SSS even when the court had struck out the charge over which he was arrested for lack of diligent prosecution.
Consequently, Raji prayed the court to compel the SSS to pay Ogwuche “the sum of N100 million as compensation for his unlawful arrest and illegal detention without trial.”
Raji brought the application pursuant to Order 2, Rule (1), (2), (3) of the Fundamental Enforcement Procedure Rule and Sections 34,35,36,37 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution.
However, at yesterday’s sitting, Justice Ademola directed the AGF to appear before him as “amicus curiea” (friend of the court) to make submission on the provisions of Section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention Amended Act, 2013 and Section 35(4) and (7) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The court also gave the AGF on or before December 9 to file his response to the conflicting provisions of Section 27 of TPAA and Section 35(4) and (7) of CFRN 1999.
The trial judge therefore adjourned the matter to December 17, for the AGF, as Chief Law Officer of the country, to address the court and for hearing of counsels’ reply if any.
In opposition to Oguche’s claim that his fundamental rights have been breached, the SSS counsel said: “Though it is true that the applicant under Section 35(1) of the Constitution is entitled to personal liberty, that provision is not absolute. We have exhibited in SS2 and SS3, why Ogwuche is under detention.
“The warrant ordering his detention vindicates the respondent,” Osagie submitted.
Osagie argued further that on September 11, Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the Federal High Court Abuja, had relied on the provision of Section 27 of the TPAA to order the detention of Ogwuche for 90 days.
“Section 27 of the TPAA provides 90 days, and is renewable. That order (exhibit 4) is subsisting for 90 days in the first instant, and is renewable based on Section 27 of TPAA,” Osagie added.
“It is evident that the SSS has complied with the requirements of the constitution in respect of Ogwuche’s continued detention,” Osagie added.
“The SSS has completed its investigation and the file transferred to the office of the AGF.
On the provision of Section 35(4) of the Constitution relied upon by Ogwuche’s lawyer, which stipulates that “not more than two months detention period,” the SSS counsel submitted that sub-section (7) of the same Section 35 said a person can be detained upon “reasonable suspicion of having committed a capital offence, which is punishable by death.”
Osagie, therefore, urged the court to dismiss the application in its entirety for being frivolous, abuse of the process of the court and for lacking in merit.
Replying on points of law, Jimoh Nureni, who appeared for Ogwuche, insisted that Section 35(4) of the Constitution stipulated a “not more than two months detention period for a suspect.”
He also challenged the authenticity of the order of a Kaduna Chief Magistrate Court, insisting that exhibits SS2 and SS3 were illegally obtained in breach of Ogwuche’s fundamental right.
•Source: Newswatch Times. Photo shows Nyanya bombing suspect, Ogwuche.
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