Law News
Ogwuche Asks Court to Order His Release, Accuses SSS of Holding Him Illegally


The alleged mastermind of the April 14 Nyanya bomb blast, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, on Thursday told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that he was being illegally detained by the State Security Service (SSS) and as such should be freed since the court had struck out the charge on which he was arrested and being detained.

He, however, asked the court to compel SSS to pay him the sum of N100 million as compensation for his unlawful arrest and detention without trial.

Ogwuche, through his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN), had brought an application pursuant to Order 2, Rule (1),(2),(3) of the Fundamental Enforcement Procedure Rule and Sections 34,35,36,37 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution, seeking enforcement of his fundamental human right.

He sued both the SSS and the Attorney General of the Federation AGF.

However, the court struck out AGF’s name on the request of the applicant.

Arguing his application, Raji noted that it was based on the request of the federal government that the Interpol placed a red alert on the applicant contrary to the impression that it was the Interpol that on its own placed the red alert.

He further drew the attention of the court to the fact that the charge on which Ogwuche was arrested and detained had been struck out by the court for lack of  diligent prosecution.

The counsel added that the charge was the foundation of the extradition order which led to the arrest of the applicant.

Raji further noted that it was assumed that the state had concluded all its investigations before requesting for the extradition order. He however contended that further detention of the complainant in the SSS custody without arraignment was illegal and pre-judicial.

Ogwuche’s counsel contended that the ex parte order secured by the SSS to detain the applicant for 90 days was a miscarriage of justice.
He also contended that Section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention Act could not override the provisions of Section 35 of the Constitution which preserved the right to liberty of every citizen.

Raji urged the court to compel the SSS to release the complainant conditionally or unconditionally, admit him to administrative bail or arraign him within 48 hours of the judgment.

He also sought  the sum of N100 million damages.
The SSS counsel, Clifford Osaghie will this morning (Friday) respond to the applicant’s submission.

The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, had earlier struck out the charge brought by the police for lack of diligent prosecution, having been absent in court for two consecutive times.

At the early stage of the trial, there was confusion between the SSS and the police on who would prosecute Ogwuche.

It was however resolved that the Attorney General of the Federation should prosecute the accused but no charge has been filed by the AGF office, though the Director of Public Prosecution is always in attendance in court.

Counsel to Ogwuche orally prayed the court for an order granting the accused person access to his lawyer, family members and his doctor.
Counsel to the SSS, Osaghie, did not oppose the application to allow lawyer and family visit the suspect, but however objected to allowing a doctor visit him.

He submitted that the service had a standard clinic and in the event of any illness, the accused would be referred to the National Hospital.
In a short ruling, the court held that the accused person should be granted access to three lawyers, and two of his family members- his wife and brother.

The court added that the service should ensure adequate medical treatment be administered on the accused and in the event of any illness, he should be taken to the National Hospital for treatment.

The accused person had hinged the application seeking to enforce his fundamental right on ground that the SSS had kept him for too long without arraigning him.

Ogwuche is being held for allegedly masterminding the bomb blast that killed 75 people at a bus station in Nyanya, a surburb of the Federal Capital Territory  (FCT)and thereafter escaped to Sudan.
The Inspector General of Police (IG) on behalf of the federal government had initially filed charges before a Federal High Court in Abuja, which aided Ogwuche’s extradition from Sudan to Nigeria.

The two-count charge filed on behalf of the IG by Oloye Torugbene, a deputy Superintendent of Police, alleged that the suspect conspired with others (at large), to commit an act of terrorism by detonating improvised explosive devices at Nyanya Motor Park, which resulted in the death of 75 persons and injuring over a hundred other persons.
Count two of the charge reads, “That you, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, male, and others now at large, on the April 14 at Nyanya, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did facilitate the activities of persons engaged in an act of terrorism.”

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