Yesterday, two courts of equal authority passes disagreeing judgement on a case involving the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Ltd, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah and the Department of State Service (DSS).
An High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi gave the Department of State Services, DSS, the go-ahead to hold him for another 14, while a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the DSS to release him within 48 hours.
Justice Yusuf Halilu extended the detention order following an ex-parte application submitted by Mr. G.O.A Agbadua who is the lawyer for the DSS.
The agency said it filed the application because an earlier order the court granted on May 10, ran out on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ubah’s lawyer, Mrs Ifeoma Esom, also filed a new application asking the court to order the DSS to grant her client administrative bail
The security agency had filed a counter-affidavit before the court, alleging that Ubah committed economic sabotage which carries a death sentence.
The DSS, while countering an application that wanted to vacate the detainment order against Ubah, said in its counter-affidavit ousted by Mr. Safwan Bello, said that the N11 billion worth of PMS was allegedly diverted by Ubah.
It asserted that the NNPC made several efforts recover the PMS it kept in Ubah’s tank farm but was unsuccessful as the applicant had diverted it for his personal use.
Esom, Ubah’s lawyer alleged that the agency of stealthily secured the order to detaining her client.
Ubah’s lawyer also alleged that the DSS hid material facts on May 10 when it prayed to the court to grant the detention of Ubah in its custody for 14 days.
However, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, in its judgement ordered the Director-General of DSS to release Dr Ubah unconditionally within 48 hours or charge him to court.
Justice Mohammed Idris, the trial judge, in a fundamental right suit by Ubah, stood that his detention without charge is against his rights.
The court also noted that the agency lied on oath in a bid to justify Ubah’s illegal detention, when Ubah was arrested in Lagos and flown to Abuja, while the agency said he was apprehended in Abuja.
According to the court,“the deponent to the fourth and fifth respondents, therefore, clearly lied in the face of Exhibit SSS1. This is unfortunate. It is unfortunate because the deponent is counsel on record for the aforementioned respondents.
“Counsel should at all times be honest and truthful to the court and must always avoid uttering or engaging in falsehood. He is under a solemn duty not to seek to confuse the court.
“Counsel is under a duty to show great respect to the court by not lying. This is because deliberate falsehood towards the judge may not only earn such counsel professional censure but he may even be committed for contempt in facie curiae.
“Counsel is a under a duty to say the truth at all times and not be economical with the truth.”
Justice Idris gave a 100-paged judgent and further held that Section 41 of the Constitution and Article 12 of the African Charter guarantee to every citizen the right to move freely thereby warning that there would be sinister outcome if the government continues to violate human rights.
“Consequently, the following orders are hereby made: An order is hereby made directing the DG of SSS and the DSS to, within 48 hours of the judgment of the court in this action, initiate or institute a criminal action against the applicants herein before any court of competent jurisdiction if they have committed any crime against the state.
“An order is hereby made directing the DG of SSS and the DSS to release the first applicant from detention unconditionally if no criminal action is instituted against him within 48 hours of this judgment.
“The first respondent, being the Attorney-General of the Federation, shall ensure strict and due compliance with the judgment of this court. That is the judgment of the court.”