Court declines to release Ubah from DSS custody
Justice Mohammed Idris of a Lagos Federal High Court yesterday declined to compel the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to release the managing director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.
The Judge had on May 9, while granting an ex-parte application filed and argued by Ubah’s counsel, Mrs. Ifeoma Esom ordered the DSS and its Director General to produce him in court yesterday or show cause why he will not be produced.
However, at the hearing of the latter yesterday, another counsel who represented Ubah, Ajibola Oluyede urged the court to order the immediate release of his client due to flagrant disobedience of the order made on May 8.
Oluyede told the court that instead of the DSS to produce his client as ordered by the court, the respondents served them a notice of preliminary objection.
He informed the court that the respondents went to a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja and obtained a remand order against his client despite the order of the Federal High Court, Lagos that he should be produced in court.
Oluyede told the court that when Ubah was first arrested on March 19, 2017 and released after three weeks, he was coerced to discontinue the fundamental rights application, which he earlier filed against the respondents, adding that when it was discontinued, he was invited and rearrested.
He also told the court that during Ubah’s second arrest, he was coerced into signing documents that he owed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and pledged his assets for the debt, whereas he was being owed by the NNPC the sum of N14, 039,125,125.
He, therefore, urged the court to order the DSS to release Ubah immediately
Responding, counsel to DSS and its Director-General, Peter Okerinmade urged the court to discountenance the submissions made by Ubah’s legal team.
He told the court that his agency has filed an application before the court challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain Ubah’s application.
According to him, the applicant was arrested in Abuja on May 6, 2017 and not in Lagos as claimed by his lawyer. He also told the court that the agency secured a remand order of the applicant on May 10, 2017.
That, he said was sequel to a Motion ex-parte for his remand filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja.
He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the submission made by Ubah’s lawyer, and hear the agency’s notice of preliminary objection challenging Court’s Jurisdiction.
Ruling on the submissions of both parties, Justice Idris said though his court had on May 9, 2017, ordered the production of the applicant by the respondents, the respondents also obtained an order from a FCT High Court, remanding the applicant.
“I shall also adjourn till May 18, 2017, when all applications and Notice of Preliminary Objection shall be heard,” he declared.