Confusion as Two Courts Give Conflicting Ruling on Ifeanyi Ubah’s Release

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

Justice Yusuf Haliru of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) sitting in Jabi, Abuja, thursday advised Mrs. Ifeoma Esom, counsel to the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, to file an application seeking her client’s bail.

Justice Yusuf Haliru gave the advice after declining to vacate an exparte order delivered on May 10, 2017, which gave the Department of State Services (DSS) 14 days to detain Ubah.

The ruling came shortly after Justice Idris Mohammed of the Federal High Court Lagos ordered the DSS to unconditionally release Ubah within 48 hours or formally charge him to court.

The court chided the DSS for lying on oath in a bid to justify Ubah’s detention, describing the action as unfortunate.
“Security agencies must understand that they are not instruments of debt recovery,” the judge held.

However, Uba had argued that the ex parte order made by the FCT High Court, which elapsed on May 24, was secured based on suppression of facts.

Ruling on Ubah’s application thursday, the court held that it was constrained to grant the motion because the DSS got a valid order to detain him.

The judge noted that the ex parte order he granted on May 10, elapsed on May 24, and therefore advised Esom to go to the DSS to demand Ubah’s release.

But delivering ruling on Ubah’s application brought pursuant to Section 292(2), the court observed that the section of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which Esom hinged her application was wrong.

Justice Haliru stated that the only basis for the court to have granted Ubah’s request is “if the application was predicated on health grounds.

“There is nothing placed before the court to show that Ubah is having any ailment that required him to be moved out of the DSS detention facility to a better health facility”, the court said.

He added: “There are proper provisions of ACJA 2015, for which the application would have been filed, but this section used was a wrong one.

“Ubah application cannot be allowed to fly at this juncture because the DSS secured a valid court order to detain him. The order was lawfully obtained and there was no suppression of facts.

“Consequently, the application is refused and hereby dismissed,” Justice Haliru held.

Reacting, Ubah’s lawyer however informed the court of her application brought pursuant to Section 296(3) of ACJA, seeking Ubah’s bail.

Meantime, the DSS lawyer, G.A Agbadua brought another application pursuant to Section 296(2) of ACJA, seeking another 14 days to detain Ubah, which the court granted.