The Department of State Services (DSS) has told a court that only three associates of Yoruba nation advocate Sunday Igboho are in its custody. This is contrary to 12 people named in a suit before a Federal High Court in Abuja by some lawyers including Pelumi Olajengbesi and Allen Sowore, after the raid of Igboho’s Ibadan (Oyo State) residence on July 1.
They gave the names of those being detained as; Abdullateef Ofeyagbe, Amuda Babatunde (alias Lady K), Tajudeen Erinoyen Diekola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah, Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman, Oluwapelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi and Bamidele Sunday.
The court, on July 23 granted an ex-parte application by the applicants and, among others, ordered the DSS to produce them on July 29 and to show cause why they should not be granted bail.
At the resumed hearing in the case yesterday, the DSS failed to produce the applicants.
DSS’ lawyer, I. Awo, apologised for his client’s inability to produce the applicants in court, arguing that they were being detained based on an order from another court pending the conclusion of investigation.
Awo said the order got for their detention would lapse on August 2 (Monday) and prayed the court to allow the DSS time to conclude its investigation after which it would decide on whether to release or charge them to court.
The lawyer noted that as against the applicants’ claim, the DSS has three – Amoda Babatunde (aka Lady K), Diokola Adeyemo Admola and Bamidele Sunday – in its custody.
Awo added that the DSS also had Abdullateef Ofeyagbe (the first applicant) in its custody until July 27when he was released.
Lawyer to the applicants, Olajengbesi faulted Awo’s claim and insisted that all his clients were being held by the DSS.
He also faulted the remand order tendered in court by the DSS’ lawyer saying it was not certified.
Olajengbesi however sought time to enable him respond to the affidavit filed by the DSS in relation to the court’s order for it to show cause.
Ruling, Justice Obiora Egwuatu restated the order for the applicants’ production on the next adjourned date.
Justice Egwuatu also ordered the DSS to allow the applicants’ lawyers access to them between today and Monday.
He adjourned till Monday for the DSS to produce them in court and for further hearing in the case.
In its affidavit, the DSS said its July 1 raid on Igboho’s residence was a joint operation by its operatives and men of the Nigerian Army.
It stated that the raid was informed by suspicion that Igboho and his associates were involved in criminal activities.
The DSS added that its operatives recovered a number of arms and ammunition during the raid, noting that investigation in the case “has assumed a wider dimension and sophistication.”
It stated that “the activities of the applicants in custody constitute threat to national security of Nigeria.
“Any attempt to grant the applicants ball at this stage of investigation, may jeopardise on-going investigation in the matter.
“The respondents will not hesitate to formally charge the applicants to court or bring them before the court at the conclusion of investigation.”