Thursday, January 9, 2020 2:36 pm
Two suspects have sought an order of the court for a N100 million compensation as damages for alleged unlawful arrest and detention by officers of the Special Anti-Roberry Squad (SARS), FCT Command of the Nigerian police.
The applicants; Adamu Salihu, a businessman, and Idris Bukar, a driver, in an originating motion filed on Dec. 31, 2019, by their counsel, Modibbo Bakari, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, also sought for an order for immediate release of the two from the SARS custody.
While Salihu and Bukar are the applicants, the Inspector-General of Police; commissioner of police, FCT Command; deputy commissioner of police (CID), FCT Command; officer-in-charge of SARS, FCT Command, and one Aisha Abdulkarim pare 1st to 5th respondents respectively in the case.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the applicants had, in a motion ex-parte dated Dec. 30 and filed Dec. 31, 2019, prayed the court to direct the respondents to release them forthwith from detention unconditionally, conditionally or charge them to court if alleged to have committed any crime or offence known to law.
They also sought an interim order restraining the respondents whether by themselves, their agents, servants, privies, officers or howsoever called from further arresting or taking unconstitutional action against them in respect of the facts of the case pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed had, on Jan. 2 in his ruling, directed all the respondents to appear before the court on Jan. 8 to show cause why the interim order for the release of the applicants being sought vide the motion ex-parte should not be granted.
The judge also ordered that the motion ex-parte, enrolled order, the substantive application and the hearing notices be served on all the respondents.
However, at the resumed date, none of the respondents was represented in the court.
Counsel to the applicants, Mr Bakari, reminded the court that the matter was adjourned at the last sitting for the respondents to come and show cause why his clients should not be released.
He said all the respondents were duly served with all the processed in accordance with the court’s order.
He told the court that the 1st to 4th respondents were served on Jan. 3 while the 5th respondent was served on Jan. 7.
The lawyer, who noted that despite serving the respondents, none of them was represented in court, urged the court to give an order for the release of his clients due to the hardship they were passing through in detention and to enable them reunite with their families.
He reminded that the applicants were initially detained in Kubwa Phase IV Police Station on Dec. 5, 2019, and later transferred to SARS detention camp at Apo, Abuja till date within the jurisdiction of the court.
The court registrar, who confirmed that the respondents were served on the said dates going by the information available in the court file, told the judge that none of the respondents filed any application.
“My Lord, there is no application in the file,” the registrar said in response to Justice Mohammed’s question on whether the respondents filed any process.
In his ruling, the judge noted that though on Jan. 2, the respondents were directed to appear before the court to show cause why the applicants should not be released, he frowned that none of the respondents was represented in the court despite being duly served with all the processes, including the hearing notices.
“There is no explanation for their absence. However, there is evidence of service by one Abu Binta, a bailiff of this court, stating that the respondents have been served with the aforementioned processes on Jan. 3 and Jan. 7 respectively,” he held.
According to him, since the court has nothing before it to contradict the allegations contained in paragraphs 5 to 21 of the applicants’ affidavit, the court has no option than to favourably consider the applicants’ motion.
Justice Mohammed, therefore, ordered that the two applicants be granted bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
He said one of the sureties must be a civil servant not below Level 08 and that the other sureties must have a landed property within the FCT and that one of the property should cover the amount of bail.
The judge, who said that the two sureties should swear to an affidavit of means, added that recent passport photographs of the sureties and the applicants must be submitted to the court.
Justice Mohammed, who directed that the hearing notices be issued on all the respondents, adjourned till Jan. 20 for hearing.
NAN reports that in the affidavit deposed to by one Fadimatu Salim, a biological sister of the applicants, the 1st applicant, Salihu, a businessman, was a customer to a commercial bank located at Area 8 Branch, Abuja, where the 5th respondent’s husband, one Mr Ado Abdulkarim is a regional manager.
The 2nd applicant, Bukar, is a younger brother to Salihu and a casual driver to the 5th respondent’s said husband.
According to the affidavit, Salihu, Bukar, Mrs Aisha Ado Abdulkarim and her husband are from the same tribe and local government origin and as such, they have been having personal relationship and interactions overtime in Abuja.
“That sometimes early this year, the 5th respondent’s said husband introduced some banking products/facilities to the 1st applicant and persuaded him to patronise.
“That there upon the 1st applicant’s application for same which was granted by the bank to the tune of N20m.
“That when the 1st applicant was processing to access the facility, the 5th respondent’s husband used the 1st applicant’s account with the bank fraudulently and diverted the funds to his personal use to the bewilderment of the applicant.
“That having raised the alarm, the applicant learnt that the 5th respondent husband had used his position and committed similar fraudulent activities in the bank to the tune of almost N100m and tension was being heightened in the system.
“That when the 5th respondent’s husband got the wind of the applicant’s moves to take EFCC action against him, the 5th respondent’s husband connived with her to abscond into hiding sometimes in November, 2019.
“That the 5th respondent in her efforts to cover the trace of her fugitive husband and acting the husband’s script has turned to use the police to arrest and detain the applicants that they are responsible for her husband’s abscondment and must know his whereabouts.
“That at the instance and behest of the 5th respondent’s machinations and higher level contacts with the police and acting the script of the husband, the applicants were arrested and detained in Kubwa Phase 4 Police Station on 5/12/2019 and later on transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention camp at Apo -Abuja till date within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.
“That since then and up til now, the applicants are being detained under dehumahised and terrible condition by the respondents without trial or bail on insistence that they must provide information leading to whereabouts of the 5th defendant’s absconding husband.
“That all efforts by the applicants’ solicitors, M. M. Bakari & Co., to get the applicants bail or arraignment before the court proved abortive as the respondents are held bent on incarcerating them due to the 5th respondent’s strong connections and influence with the top hierarchy of police.
“That the 5th respondent is using police to prevent the 1st applicant from taking EFCC or any legal action against her husband for the aforementioned bank fraud.
“That the applicants’ failing health condition is deteriorating and becoming worst by the day without access to medical facilities or any proper treatment.
“That unless this application is granted by this honourable court, the applicants’ constitutional rights will continue to be violated by the respondents,” it read.