How Abuja Judge’s Retirement Stalled Hearing Of Activists’ Case Against DSS, Dunamis Church

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The court hearing of the human rights’ case instituted by five #BuhariMustGo activists against the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja and the Department of State Services, was stalled on Wednesday due to the retirement of the presiding judge.

This was made known in a statement issued on Wednesday by human rights’ lawyer, Tope Temokun, to SaharaReporters.

According to the statement, the hearing of the case could not go on due to the aforementioned reason.

Temokun said, “Upon the retirement of Justice Chikere of the Federal High Court 3 Abuja, the judge who wrote her name in gold before retirement for ordering the DSS to release the 5 youth activists, who filed for the enforcement of their rights to personal liberty against the DSS and Pastor Enenche, for their unlawful arrest and detention… we are in court today but the matter could not go on owing to the exit from the bench of this judge of great worth.”

The DSS had arrested Ben Mannaseh; Emmanuel Larry; Victor Udoka Anene; a blind saxophonist, Samuel Gabriel Iwatonaiye and Henry Nwodohave on July 4, 2021, on the church premises in Abuja for wearing #BuhariMustGo branded shirts.

They were detained for more than 30 days in the custody of the DSS despite a court order that ordered their release.

Justice Anwuli Chikere had on July 26, 2021 granted bail to five activists who were arrested and detained by the DSS since July 4, 2021 for wearing T-shirts with the inscription #BuhariMustGo to the church.

Justice Chikere gave the order while ruling in separate exparte applications filed on behalf of the defendants by their lawyer, Temokun.

The applicants include; Ben Manasseh, Anene Udoka, Henry Nwodo, Samuel Larry and Samuel Gabriel.

The DSS had arrested them for wearing ‘Buhari Must Go’ T-shirts to a Sunday Service at Dunamis International Gospel Centre Headquarters in Lugbe.

But the defendants, who claimed the action of the DSS violated their fundamental rights approached the court to seek redress.

Sued along with the DSS, are President Muhammadu Buhari and the church’s pastor-in-charge, Pastor Paul Enenche.

Others include the Director-General of the DSS, Mr Yusuf Bichi and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).

They prayed the court to declare their arrest and detention unlawful, and also asked the court to award N10 million, each, in damages, for the violation of their fundamental rights.

The five had filed a contempt suit against the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, for disobeying the court order granting them bail.

The activists commenced the contempt suit with the filing of a ‘Notice of Consequences of Order of Court, also known as Form 48, on July 30, to push for the jailing of the SSS boss.

Their lawyer, Tomekun, had at the time filed the suit on their behalf at a Federal High Court in Abuja. The court notice warned that the DSS DG risked being jailed.

Recall that a Magistrate Court sitting in Mpape had Wednesday, July 28, 2021, also admitted the activists to bail in the sum of N500,000 each with one surety each but the DSS operatives hurriedly drove the activists away before perfecting the bail conditions.

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