Court disappoints DSS, strikes out fresh motion against Igboho’s associates
It was not a rosy day for the Department of State Services (DSS) as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, struck out a fresh motion it filed for permission to further detain four out of the 12 persons it arrested at the residence of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
Though the court had on August 4, admitted all the 12 persons that were arrested and detained on July 1, bail on the aggregate sum of N80million, however, the DSS, is insisting that it has reasons to further detain four of them.
The security agency had maintained that the four detainees- Amudat Habitat Babatunde, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah Oyetunji and Bamidele Sunday- were deeply involved in Igboho’s alleged criminal activities, and were “suspected to be stock piling arms to take over the South Western states in the country”.
While opposing their release on bail, the DSS, through its lawyer, Mr. I. Awo, said it believed that four of them 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 their principal, Igboho, is currently standing criminal trial in Benin Republic, after he was declared wanted in Nigeria.
“These four 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.
Arguing that denying them bail would be in the interest of national security, the DSS, sought permission of the court to further detain them for another 14 days to enable it to conclude its investigations.
It will be recalled that the court had on the strength of a counter-affidavit by the DSS, granted the four detained persons bail on stiffer conditions.
While it gave bail to eight others that the DSS did not raise any objection to their applications, to the tune of N5m with two sureties in the like sum, the four Applicants were granted bail in the sum of N10m with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu held that the sureties must be resident in Abuja, adding that one of them must be a civil servant not below grade level 12.
It held that the civil servant must submit a letter of employment and last promotion letter, as well as tender a passport photograph.
All the sureties were directed to submit evidence of payment of tax for the past three years and also depose to an affidavit of means.
More so, the court directed the four Applicants whose bail request was opposed, to report to the office of the DSS every first Monday of the month, for three months, commencing from September 1.
Though all the Applicants have perfected their bail conditions, DSS, in a fresh move, applied to further detain four of them.
At the resumed proceedings in the matter on Tuesday when the motion was to be heard, the security agency, through its lawyer, Mr. Awo, applied to withdraw it.
DSS told the court that it had already taken the matter before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.
It said its decision to withdraw the motion was based on the need to focus on the appeal challenging the bail that was granted to the four persons by the high court.
Awo’s application to withdraw the motion was not opposed by counsel to Igboho’s four associates, Mr Sunday Adebayo.
Consequently, Justice Egwuatu struck out the motion.