The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Monday, deferred the hearing of the fundamental rights enforcement suit, to be released from detention, filed by the 12 persons arrested at the residence of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu adjourned the matter till Wednesday, August 4, to enable counsel to the detained applicants, Pelumi Olajengbesi, amend the court processes to reflect their real names.
Olajengbesi, who said he was only granted access to his clients last Friday, had observed that some of the names he previously listed in the court processes, were nicknames of the applicants.
The development had led to the Department of State Services, DSS, insisting that the listed applicants the judge ordered should be produced before the court, were not in its custody.
Consequently, at the resumed proceedings in the matter, Olajengbesi secured leave of the court to correct the names of the Applicants.
Meanwhile, the DSS, on Monday, produced only eight of the detained applicants before the court.
Those the security agency produced in compliance with an earlier order of the court were Amoda Babatunde (aka Lady K), Tajudeen Erinoyen, Diakola Ademola Jubril, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah Oyetunji, Ayobami Donald, Raji Kazeem and Bamidele Sunday.
Four others (Abdullateef Ademola Onaolapo, Uthman Opeyemi Adelabu, Oluwafemi Ola Kunle, Okoyemi Tajudeen) were not brought before the court owing to discrepancies in their names.
While adjourning the case, Justice Egwuatu ordered the DSS to produce all the detained persons in court on Wednesday.
It will be recalled that the court had on July 23, ordered the DSS to produce the 12 arrested persons who have been in detention since July 2, before it on July 29.
Justice Egwuatu said the order for production of the applicants was to enable the court to determine the circumstances surrounding their arrest, and for the DSS to show cause why they should not be released on bail, either conditionally or unconditionally.
However, though the DSS failed to produce the applicants on the last adjourned date, it, however, filed a 16-paragraphed counter-affidavit before the court.
DSS, in the affidavit, alleged that the detained persons, alongside Igboho, were known to have “called for the violent ejection of herdsmen and threatened violence to perceived enemies of peace and well being of Yorubas”.
It told the court that Igboho and his supporters, including the applicants in custody “are suspected to be stockpiling arms to take over the southwestern states in the country”.
“That investigation in the matter has assumed wider dimension and sophistication, hence, the respondents sought and obtained a detention order empowering it to legally detain the applicants for a period of 14 days, pending the conclusion of the investigation,” DSS added in the counter-affidavit that was deposed to by one of its operatives, Abdullahi Magaji.
The deponent further averred that security operatives had, after a gun battle that took place on the day Igboho’s residence was raided, recovered seven AK-47 rifles, three pump action rifles, one stun gun, 221 live rounds of 55.56mm ammunition, 1,295 live rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, one jack knife and 19 walkie talkies.
“That the activities of the applicants in custody constitute a threat to the national security of Nigeria.
“That any attempt to grant the applicants bail at this stage of investigation may jeopardise ongoing investigation in the matter.
“That the respondents will not hesitate to formally charge the applicants to court or bring them before the court at the conclusion of the investigation,” the counter-affidavit by the DSS further read.