By Emmanuel Ani on March 11, 2016
Reprieve came the way of a member of the Ekiti State House
of Assembly, Hon Afolabi Akanni, yesterday as the Federal High Court sitting in
Ado Ekiti ordered the Department of State Services, DSS, to immediately release the detained lawmaker, who was arrested last week by men of the security agency.
In the alternative, the Court in its ruling delivered by Justice Taiwo
Taiwo, ordered the DSS to produce Akanni in Court on Wednesday, March
16 and show cause why he should not be released .
Akanni, representing Efon constituency, was arrested last Friday by
DSS for undisclosed reason and whisked to Abuja and had since been
detained by the security agency.
Consequently, Akanni, through his lawyers, Barr. Obafemi Adewale and
Barr. Bunmi Olugbade approached the court through an ex-parte
application, seeking the protection of his fundamental human rights
in line with Section 35 (1) of the 1999 constitution.
The ex-parte motion marked: FHC/AD/CS/18/16, dated March 10 and
supported by 21-paragraph affidavits, deposed to by a member of the
State House of Assembly, Hon Tunji Akiyele, sought an order of the
court compelling the DSS to release him pending the determination of
the substantive issue.
He also sought an order restraining the DSS from further re-arresting,
harassing or intimidating him until the main issue pending before the
court is entertained and judgment dispensed.
In its ruling, Justice Taiwo agreed with the applicant that the
enforcement of fundamental human rights is a case of urgency, which
should be treated expeditiously, citing the cases of Beko Ransome Kuti
Vs SSS and Tunji Abayomi Vs SSS to justify his stand.
To this end, the presiding Judge ordered the DSS to release the
lawmaker with immediate effect or produce him in court in the
alternative and show evidence why he should be in protective custody as
the case instituted by the applicant proceeds.
Justice Taiwo ordered that the respondent should be served with all
the court processes on or before March 16, when the detained lawmakers
will be brought before the court.
The judge granted an order restraining Hon Akanni from being
rearrested by DSS after being released to pursue the case seeking to
exercise his fundamental rights as enunciated in the constitution.
“I want him the applicant, Hon Afolabi Akanni be produced in this
court in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, March 16 by DSS and show cause why he
being detained or cannot be released”, the Judge said.
“Section 35 (4), (5), C and D of the 1999 constitution and order (4)
rule (4) of the fundamental civil procedure rule show the conditions
that must be met before a person can be arrested and detained and this
has not been met .
“The averment in the applicant’s affidavit contends that issue of
liberty requires expeditious trial because it involves life and that
every society is governed by the rule of law, which shows that
everything must be done according to the law and there should be no
arbitrariness,” he said.
The lawyer to the applicant, Mr Olugbade , who praised the Judge for
granting the prayers, called on the DSS as an agency of government to
comply with the order by releasing Hon. Akanni without further delay.
“The rule of law must be respected because we operate a democratic
governance. The next thing Nigerians will like to hear is that the
detained lawmaker has become a free citizen as guaranteed by the
law,” he stated.
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