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Court Declines To Release Ifeanyi Ubah Over Conflicting Orders

Justice Mohammed Idris of Lagos Federal High Court, on Friday, declined to compel the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to release the oil magnet, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.

It will be recalles that the judge had on may 9, while granting an Ex-parte application filed by filed and argued by Ubah's lawyer, Mrs.Ifeoma Esom, ordered the DSS and it's Director-General, to produce him in court on Friday, or show cause while he will not be produced.

However, at the hearing of the latter on Friday, Ubah's lawyer, Prince Ajibola Oluyede, urged the court to ordered immediate release of his client, Ubah, due to flagrant disobedience to the order made on may 8.

In urging the court for immediate release of Ubah, Oluyede told the court that instead of the DSS to produce his client as ordered by the court, the respondents served them with Notice of Preliminary Objection.

He also informed the court the respondents went to a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, and obtained a remand order of his client despite a Lagos Federal High court has order that he should be produce in court.

Furthermore, Oluyede told the court that in disobeying the court order the DSS and it's Director-General acted in subversion to the authority and dignity of the court, by utilizing what he termed as 'abuse of court and power'.

Oluyede further told the court that when Ubah was first arrested in March 19, 2017, and released after three weeks and that he was coarsed to discontinued the fundamental rights application which he earlier filed against the respondents. Adding that upon discontinue the application he was invited and arrested again.

Ubah lawyer also told the court that during his client's second arrest, he was coarsed to signed documents that he owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and to pledge with his assets for the debt. Whereas, he was being owned by NNPC in the total sum of N14. 039, 125, 125 billion.

He submitted to that the DSS and it's Director-General have not shown cause in compliance with court order while he should not be released. 

He therefore urged the court to order DSS to release Ubah immediately

Responding, lawyer representing DSS and it's Director-General, Mr. Peter Okerinmade, urged to discontenance the submissions made by Ubah's legal team.

He told the court that his agency has filed an application before the court challenging the court's jurisdiction to entertain Ubah's application.

He told the court that the court that the applicant was arrested in Abuja on May 6, 2017, not in Lagos as claimed by his lawyer. He also told the court that the agency secured a remand order of the applicant on May 10, 2017, this he said was sequel to a Motion Ex-parte for his remand filed before an Abuja Federal High Court.

He therefore urged the court to discountenance the submission made by Ubah's lawyer, and hear the agency's notice of preliminary objection challenging Court's Jurisdiction.

Ruling on the submissions po f both parties, Justice Idris said though his court had on May 9, 2017, ordered the production of the applicant by the respondents, while he respondents also obtained an order from a FCT High Court, remanding the applicant. 

The situations Justice Idris described the situation the court find itself as sad and unfortunate.

The judge said: "on May 9, 2017, upon the hearing the applicant's Ex-parte application, the court directed the fourth and fifth applicants to produce the applicant in court today.

"From the record of the court, it shown that the ruling was served on the respondents on May 10, 2015, by 10 am,. It was also shown that the respondents on the same May 10, 2017, obtained an order remanding that applicant from my learned brother Halilu J of FCT High Court.

"It's clear that there is a direct conflict between order of this court and of my learned brother Halilu J of FCT High Court.

"Court of the same jurisdiction have been cautioned on a matter lime this. I will in the circumstance of this case Act with great caution. I will not make any order that will have effect of neutralize the effect of order made by High Court of FCT.

"In the line of order made on May 10, 2017, I will not make an order to produce the applicant since parties in the case have been served and matter adjourned till May 18, 2017, I shall adjourn till May 18, 2017, when all applications and Notice of Preliminary Objection shall be heared.

"The matter is hereby adjourned till May 18, 2017".

Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, and his oil firm, Capital Oil and Gas, had instituted a fundamental right suit against the DSS  and it's Director-General, seeking his unconditional release from the custody of DSS

Joined in the suit are:  Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), The Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), NNPC Retail Limited, and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

Ubah in affidavit in support of the ex-parte application deposed to by the Secretary of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, George Oranuba, claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) arrested Ubah on account of allegations.

Oranuba said the issue had become a subject of litigation, adding that despite the subsisting suit, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the DSS invited Ubah for questioning.

According to him, Ubah had earlier been detained from March 24 to April 14, 2017.

But the DSS had claimed that it arrested Ubah on alleged indebtedness to NNPC.


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