Human rights lawyer, Tope Temokun, has sought a notice from the Federal High Court in Abuja warning Yusuf Bichi, Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), to comply with the court order and release the five #BuhariMustGo protesters who were arrested at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre Church in Abuja.
The court notice warned that the DSS DG risked being jailed.
The DSS had arrested Ben Manasseh, Anene Udoka, Henry Nwodo, Samuel Larry and Samuel Gabriel on July 4 at the church premises in Abuja for wearing #BuhariMustGo branded shirts.
The activists subsequently sued the secret police, President Muhammadu Buhari, the senior pastor, Paul Enenche and others for unlawful arrest and detention.
They also asked the court to award N10million each in damages for the violation of their fundamental human rights.
The judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere in his ruling, had ordered that the DSS should release the applicants with immediate effect.
Owing to the non-compliance of the order, Temokun, the activists’ lawyer went to court seeking the execution of the order.
In a notice, the court informed the DSS DG that his failure to release the five protesters amounted to contempt of court.
The notice, obtained by SaharaReporters, is entitled, “Notice of consequences of disobedience to order of court” and addressed to the Director General of the State Security Services, 1 Maitaima Avenue, Three Arms Zone, Abuja.
“Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this endorsed ORDER (hereby endorsed), you shall be guilty of contempt of Court and will be liable to be committed to prison,” the notice by the court registrar reads.
“We have filed contempt proceedings this afternoon against the Director General of DSS for refusal to comply with Order of the Federal High Court given on July 26 ordering the DSS to release the five applicants forthwith.
“They were served with the Order on the 29th of July 2021. Today is August 2, 2021, the Dunamis five are still held by the DSS in flagrant flouting of the order of Court. When a nation is slipping into dictatorship, the first feature is that the organs of government will begin to flout court orders. That is exactly what the DSS is doing by their refusals to respect and obey court orders. The Dunamis five are still kept by the DSS despite being served with the order of a Federal High Court, for them to be released forthwith. This is our tragedy as a nation,” human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, who has been in the forefront of the demand for the release of the five activists, stated.
SaharaReporters had reported last Thursday that instead of complying with the initial order, the agency hurriedly arraigned the activists on charges of disturbance of public peace which was to earn a face-saving justification for keeping them in custody.
Brought before the magistrate for arraignment on Wednesday, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their lawyer subsequently applied for their bail.
Ruling, the magistrate, Mohammed Zubairu, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N500,000 with a surety each.