Charge Ubah Or Release Him Within 48 Hours, Court Orders DSS
Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today ordered the immediate release of the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil and Gas Limited Dr Ifeayin Uba from the custody of Directorate of State Services(DSS) within 48 hours or charge him to court.
Justice Mohammed Idris made the order while ruling on a fundamental rights enforcement application filed before the court by the Capital Oil boss.
Justice Idris held that Ubah’s detention without charge violated his rights
In making an order that Ubah be released unconditionally, if the DSS did not have any charge against him, the judge said that the DSS lied on oath in a bid to justify Ubah’s illegal detention.
DSS had arrested Ubah over alleged “economic sabotage” and “illegal sale of petroleum products stored in his tank farm by the NNPC”.
In his judgement at Thursday’s proceedings, Justice Idris held that Section 41 of the Constitution and Article 12 of the African Charter guarantees to every Nigerian the right to move freely.
He warned that there would be dire consequences if the government continues to violate human rights.
“In place of widespread culture of impunity, there is need to build a culture of accountability and respect for the rule of law and the Constitution.
“Such culture must be built on the conviction on the part of the leadership of this country, including the judiciary, that democracy cannot be successful if respect for the constitution and human rights is shaky.
“Democracy cannot be successful if the government remains ambivalent about the rule of law and if governmental authorities and powerful individuals are perceived to be above the law.
“In a constitutional democracy as ours, no one, no institution, no agent or agency of government shall be above the law.
“The institutional and procedural bottlenecks to legal enforcement of human rights can create despair in large segments of the population about realising their rights.
“Individuals or groups may then seek alternative means of actualising their rights. Arms struggles and other extra-legal means of resistance often result from the absence of effective legal remedies.
“A democracy must have practical means of securing accountability for human rights violations. We must as a nation ensure that human rights are protected and enforced in real time.
“In the entire circumstances of this case, I hold that the applicants have established the case against the fourth and fifth being the DG of SSS and DSS for the violation of their rights as guaranteed under the constitution.
“Consequently, the following orders are hereby made: An order is hereby made directing the Director-General of DSS and the DSS to, within 48 hours of the judgement 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.”
Prior to the order, Justice Idris had earlier dismissed DSS’ and NNPC’s preliminary objections, challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
The judge had also held that Ubah and his had no cause of action against EFCC, the police/IGP and AMCON; consequently, he had struck out their names from the suit.