DSS releases Abaribe, as court washes hands off arrest

The Abaribes

The Department of State Services, DSS, has released the lawmaker representing Abia south senatorial district, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, after he spent four days in detention.

Abaribe’s media aide, Uchenna Awom, confirmed this in a statement issued on Tuesday night.

“About 6.32pm on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe walked into freedom after five days in the DSS gulag.

“Abaribe, who was granted administrative bail, was released to his lawyers led by Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN.

“The collective calls and demand for his release have shown the great spirit of Nigerians for justice,” the statement read.

Operatives of the secret police had on Friday picked up the senator at a popular hotel in Abuja, and searched his Abuja residence hours later.

Reports say he was arrested for standing as a guarantor to leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, who is standing trial for alleged treason.

Kanu was granted bail in April but disappeared from the public in September when soldiers raided his residence in Abia state.

Before the lawmaker regained freedom, the Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako has ordered the DSS to allow Abaribe to have access to his lawyer.

Nyako made the order following an oral application by Abaribe’s counsel, Ume, seeking the intervention of the court on the plight of his client. Abaribe, who had stood surety for the ‘missing’ Nnamdi Kanu, was yesterday brought to court by operatives of the DSS in relation to the legal issues arising from Kanu’s bail.

The lawyer informed the court that his client, who was arrested and detained by the DSS since Friday last week, was still being held incommunicado.

Justice Nyako, while declining further action on the oral application, said the matter was not before her.

Ume consequently pleaded with the court to intervene in the matter.

“If he is being detained by the DSS, you know what to do. His arrest and detention has nothing to do with me and I did not make any order for his arrest.

“I am tired of this drama; the DSS is not an extension of my court. Channel your grievance to the appropriate place. You are wasting my time on a matter that does not concern me,” the judge said.

Although the judge declared that she was not going to entertain the matter since the facts of his arrest and detention were not before her, she, however, said it was the constitutional right of anybody who is detained to have access to a lawyer of his or her choice.

The judge said: “I have nothing to do with that matter, however, because it is his fundamental right to get a counsel of his choice, the DSS should allow him to have access to his lawyer.

“You cannot hold him incommunicado. For whatever reason, you have arrested him, allow him access to his counsel,” Justice Nyako ordered.

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