Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Thursday ordered the unconditional release of the Chief Executive Officer of Capital Oil Limited, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah, from the Department of State Services (DSS) custody.
Despite heavy downpour in Federal High Court, Lagos, patriotic Nigerians and workers of Capital Oil and Gas who had earlier registered their displeasure at the impasse as over 2,000 workers under the payroll of Capital Oil and Gas have been rendered jobless defied the rain by trooping out en masse to show support for Dr. Ubah.
While delivering his ruling on Thursday morning, Justice Idris held that Ubah’s detention without charge was illegal.
The judge directed the DSS to file a criminal charge against Ubah within 48 hours if it has a case against him or release him with no conditions attached.
“An order is hereby made, directing the 4th and 5th respondent being, the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to within 48 hours of the judgement of the court in this action, initiate or institute a criminal action against the 1st applicant before a court of competent jurisdiction if he has committed any crime against the state,” said the judge.
“An order is hereby made, directing the, the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Department of State Security Service (DSS) to release the 1st applicant from detention unconditionally if no criminal action is instituted against him within 48 hours of this judgement,” said Justice Idris.
The judge also directed the Attorney General of the Federation to “ensure strict and due compliance of the judgement.”
Ubah has been in detention for weeks over allegations that he diverted petroleum products stored in his tank farm by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The court chided the DSS for lying on oath in a bid to justify Ubah’s detention, describing the action as “unfortunate” while from every available evidence, he was arrested in Lagos and flown to Abuja, where he has been detained some weeks.
“Security agencies must understand that they are not instruments of debt recovery” Justice Idris held.
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