Following a request to a Federal High Court in Abuja by the Department of State Services (DSS) to detain Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, the Chairman of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd, for more days, the court has granted the DSS request to keep the oil billionaire in its custody for another 14 days pending the completion of its investigations against him.
The order was give by Justice Y. Halilu of the Abuja High Court.
The Federal High Court in Lagos had on Tuesday 9th May ordered the DSS to produce Ubah in court on Friday. However, the DSS had already rushed to the Abuja division of the High Court on 10th May to obtaine another order to detain him further.
Efforts by Ubah’s lawyer to persuade the Federal High Court Lagos to cancel the order failed as Justice Mohammed Idris noted that he would have to act with great caution.
Ubah’s lawyer, Richard Oluyede, told the court that “the applicant has not been produced, rather we were served this morning with a notice of preliminary objection and a counter affidavit to the application itself being filed yesterday.”
“After your lordship’s order on the 9th of May, 2017, the 4th and 5th respondents went before the FCT High Court on the 10th of May and obtained an order to detain him for 14 days in other to complete their purported investigation,” he said.
I would act with “great caution” in the matter, Justice Idris of the Lagos High Court stated.
“I will not make an order for the release of the applicant pending the completion of the 14 days,” he added.
The judge adjourned the case to 18th May.
Before adjourning the case Oluyede however noted that “the proceedings taken to the FCT is an abuse of process and also an abuse of power.”
Ubah’s lawyer also referred to an affidavit where he alleged that Mr. Ubah was threatened to withdraw his application from the Federal High Court Lagos after Justice Idris had ordered for his appearance in court on Friday or he’ll rot in detention and his children and wife would be arrested.
He also told the court that he was told that the court order to produce him would not be obeyed and it was best for him to withdraw the application.
“as soon as the order to produce the 1st applicant, was served on the 4th and 5threspondents, he was placed under additional strictures and began to receive threats that unless he withdrew his action he would rot in the detention and members of his family including his children and wife would be arrested and detained.” He said
“After being in custody for over a month, he was coerced to sign some documents. First to sign a document for discontinuance upon threat to family and himself, he was then coerced into signing documents of indebtedness to NNPC and pledging some of his assets to the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON”.
Peter Okerinmode, counsel to the DSS, said in his reaction said that; “the alleged arrest and detention of the 1st applicant occurred in Abuja on the 5th of May and that no infringement of the 1st applicant’s right occurred in Lagos State.”
“The relief sought by the 4th and 5th respondents, challenges the jurisdiction of this court to hear and determine this case and that the court in Lagos State lacks the jurisdiction to hear and determine any alleged infringement of the fundamental human right of anybody in Abuja,” said Mr. Okerinmode.
Oluyede in his response said: “My learned friend fails to realize that the order made by this court to produce the 1st applicant is extrinsic and their failure itself is a separate proceedings. They have subverted this court order and saying the court lacks jurisdiction but have failed to comply with the order of this court.
“The dignity of the court is paramount than jurisdiction and I urge this court to release the 1st applicant unconditionally,” he added.
Ifeanyi Ubah, was allegedly arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) for not remitting about N11billion realized from the sale of petroleum products stored in his facility by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and for engaging in acts unfavorable to national security.