From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Department of State Service (DSS) on Monday produced before the Federal High Court in Abuja eight of the 12 persons who were arrested at the residence of Yoruba activist Sunday Adeyemo, commonly known as Sunday Igboho.
The court has deferred the hearing of the fundamental human rights enforcement suit seeking their release from detention to August 4.
At the last sitting on July 23, the court had ordered the DSS to produce the 12 detained persons in court.
However, the secret police had through its counsel, David Awo, explained that the list of persons the court ordered to be produced was not in its custody.
The adjournment was at the instance of counsel to the applicants, Pelumi Olajengbesi who requested time to enable him to amend the court processes to reflect the real names of the detainees.
He explained that some of the names he previously listed in the court processes, were nicknames of the applicants while lamenting that he was denied access from seeing his clients.
Regardless, those produced in 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.
Justice Egwuatu has however ordered the DSS to produce all the detained persons in court on Wednesday, August 4.
The DSS, in the meantime, filed a 16-paragraphed counter-affidavit before the court alleging 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,’ the 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.