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Court orders navy to produce hotelier allegedly detained for over 90 days


High Court

A Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered the officers of the Nigeria Navy and others to appear before her and explain why they failed to arraign one Saibu Ogunmola, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peace and Love International Hotel, who has been in their custody since January 17, 2019.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu gave the order while delivering judgment in a motion ex-parte filed by the applicant through his counsel, McAnthony Aikharialea.

Joined as co-respondents in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/287/19, are the Chief of Naval Staff, the Commander NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos and the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) Abuja.

In the motion exparte, the applicant asked the court for an order granting the applicant bail forthwith from the respondents’ detention pending the determination of main suit.

He also asked for an order compelling the respondents or any other agency to appear before the court with the applicant to show cause why the applicant should not be arraigned for whatever offence alleged against him having gone beyond reasonable time to do so.

Sodiq Raji cousin to the applicant in an affidavit averred that about 5.00am on January 17, 2019, some armed Naval Officers stormed the applicant’s hotel at Igbo Eseyore, Snake Island, Lagos to conduct serious search and nothing incriminating was found.

He added that right after their Search of the Applicant’s hotel and the surrounding, the Naval Officers took him away to Ilashe for another Search and subsequently took him away to their base at NNS Beecroft Naval Base, Apapa and detained him at their Apapa cell for seven days and subsequently moved him to Abuja, till date without access to see him by his family members.

Upon hearing the counsel’s submission, Justice Ojukwu held: “After listening carefully to the argument of the counsel and upon careful consideration of the facts stated in the affidavit, I hereby order the respondents to appear before this court with the applicant, to show cause why he should not be arraigned for whatever offence alleged against him, haven gone beyond time to do that. The matter is hereby adjourned till May 3 for report of compliance.”

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