Court Permits DSS to Detain Alleged Nigerian ISIS for 60 Days 

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday gave permission to the Department of State Services (DSS) to keep in its custody a Nigerian, Emmanuel Osase, over allegations bordering on being a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to Justice Ekwo, the defendant is to be in custody for 60 days, within which the security agency is expected to have concluded its investigation.

The court’s decision was sequel to an exparte application marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/409/2024, and filed by the DSS.

The counsel to the DSS, Mr A. A Ugee, had told the court that the matter was brought pursuant to Section 66(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022. 

He prayed the court for an order enabling the DSS to detain Osase for 60 days pending the conclusion of investigation.

Responding, Justice Ekwo, in a short ruling held that: “Upon studying the averments in the affidavit, I hereby grant the relief as prayed”, just as he  adjourned the matter till June 3, 2024.

Osase, who was arrested on March 11 for allegedly propagating the messages of the terrorist group, opposing the democratic system of government in Nigeria, was allegedly calling for terrorist attacks on Nigeria and its symbols of sovereignty. 

The service, in an affidavit dated March 27, sought an order of the court to detain the suspect for 60 days, adding that the release of the suspect could jeopardize its investigation. 

Deponent of the affidavit, Mr Ahmad Abubakar, from the Legal Service Department, DSS National Headquarters, Abuja, disclosed that the respondent was arrested by a team of personnel from the applicant’s office for alleged “membership and propagation of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist messages, including opposition to the democratic system of government and the call for staging terrorist attacks against Nigeria State and its symbols of sovereignty”.

Abubakar stated that Osase was jailed for five years for terrorism-related offences in France and was deported after the completion of his sentence.

He noted that from the service’s preliminary investigation, Osase was still involved in terrorist activities, adding that the respondent appeared not to have renounced his terrorist ideologies, as he continues to engage with the proscribed pro-ISIS online media group known as “al-Alawn Media Foundation”.

According to the DSS, the main objective of the foundation is the creation and dissemination of terrorist content and the promotion of terrorist attacks against democratic systems of government such as Nigeria and the western governments including their interests across the globe.

“That the respondent who was born in the Federal Capital Territory left Nigeria for France and never returned to Nigeria until his deportation after completion of a five-year jail term in France for acts of terrorism and attempt to join the Islamic State (IS) linked terrorist group, Friqat Al-Ghuraba (Group of Foreigners) in Syria.”

Abubakar stated that the respondent upon sighting operatives of the service formatted his phone, in a bid to wipe out any suspicious contents on the device and cover up his nefarious activities.

Deponent added that the respondent constitute a potent threat to national security and corporate existence of Nigeria.

He, subsequently, urged the court to grant the request of the service, so as to painstakingly probe the respondent to ensure he does not constitute a security treat to the country and world at large. 

Abubakar added that: “That the release of the respondent at this time would jeopardize the investigation, as investigation has assumed a wider dimension;

“That there is a need for a thorough investigation of the suspect to ensure that he does not pose any security threat to Nigeria or the world at large.

“That the respondent is helping with vital information that will lead to the arrest of other members who are still at large.”

Related Articles