By; Oladele Adedayo, Ado-Ekiti.
A Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital has ordered the immediate release of a member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Afolabi Akanni from the detention of the Department of State Services (DSS), Abuja.
Akanni, representing Efon constituency, was arrested last Friday by DSS for undisclosed reason and whisked to Abuja and had since been detained by the Service.
In the alternative, the Court in its ruling delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, ordered the DSS to produce Akanni in Court on Wednesday, March 16 and show cause why he would not be released.
Consequently, Akanni, through his lawyers, Barr. Obafemi Adewale and Barr. Bunmi Olugbade approached the court through an ex-parte application, seeking the protection of his fundamental human rights in line with Section 35 (1) of the 1999 constitution.
In an ex-parte motion number FHC/AD/CS/18/16, dated March 10 and supported by 21-paragraph affidavits, deposed to by a member of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Tunji Akiyele, sought an order of the court compelling the DSS to release him pending the determination of the substantive issue.
He also sought an order restraining the DSS from further re-arresting, harassing or intimidating him until the main issue pending before the court is entertained and judgement dispensed.
In its ruling, Justice Taiwo agreed with the applicant that the enforcement of fundamental human rights is a case of urgency,which should be treated expeditiously, citing the cases of Beko Ransome Kuti Vs SSS and Tunji Abayomi Vs SSS to justify his stand.
To this end, the presiding Judge ordered the DSS to release the lawmaker with immediate effect or produce him in Court in the alternative and show evidence why he would be in protective custody as the case instituted by the applicant proceeds.
Justice Taiwo however ordered that the respondent should be served with all the Court processes on or before March 16, when the detained Lawmaker will be brought before the court.
The Judge granted an order restraining Hon. Akanni from being re-arrested by DSS after being released to pursue the case seeking to exercise his fundamental rights as stipulated in the constitution.
“I want him the applicant, Hon. Afolabi Akanni be produced in this court in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, March 16 by DSS and show cause why he being detained or cannot be released”, the Judge said.
“Section 35 (4),(5),C and D of the 1999 constitution and order (4) rule (4) of the fundamental civil procedure rule show the conditions that must be met before a person can be arrested and detained and this has not been met.
“The averment in the applicant’s affidavit contends that issue of liberty requires expeditious trial because it involves life and that every society is governed by the rule of law, which shows that everything must be done according to the law and there should be no arbitrariness”, he said.
The Lawyer to the applicant, Mr. Olugbade, who praised the Judge for granting the prayers, called on the DSS as an agency of government to comply with the order by releasing Hon. Akanni without further delay.
“The rule of law must be respected because we operate a democratic governance. The next thing Nigerians will like to hear is that the detained Lawmaker has become a free citizen as guaranteed by the law”.