The owners of Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park, Mustapha Fawaz, Abdalah Tahini and Talal Rouda standing trial for alleged arms importation have asked a Federal High Court in Abuja for immediate order of release from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS), insisting that what was recovered from them were hunting rifles.
The three Lebanese are being accused by the SSS of being members of the terrorist organisation, Hezbolla, and alleged importation of firearms into Nigeria.
The trio in their application for the enforcement of their fundamental rights, asked the court to declare that their arrest and continued detention without trial by the SSS is “illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever”.
The Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke ( SAN ) are named as respondents.
The accused, through their counsel, Mr Adbullahi Raji (SAN), also prayed for an Interim Order restraining the SSS, IG and AGF from continued arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of their families, relations and/or business interests.
Raji, in his submissions, denied that his clients were members of Hezbollah and did not import weapons into the country, rather have hunting rifles.”
“What they have are mere hunting rifles. My clients denied that the weapons that the SSS showed in exhibit 1, was found in their house in Kano.
“To put the records straight, none of my clients live on Tukur Road of Nasarawa area of Kano. They all live in Abuja,” Raji said.
He prayed the court to hold that the SSS had no legal instrument before they arrested and detained his clients since May 11.
Raji, prayed the court to declare that the action of the SSS “was arbitrary and a wanton violation of the rights of his clients as guaranteed under Sections 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution, Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
He, also sought for an order directing the respondents and their agents and servants to unseal the Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park forthwith.
He urged the court to discountenance the submissions of the SSS and order the payment of N50 billion as compensation.
In a counter motion, counsel to the SSS, Mr Cliff Osagie, urged the court to dismiss the application of the three men and urged the court to hold that the SSS reserved the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute offenders in accordance with the law.
He told the court that the SSS complied with two orders for committal from competent courts in Kano and Abuja.
“We found a cache of prohibited arms in their house in Kano. And not mere hunting rifles as they averred in their submission. They have not exhibited any licence issued to them to be in possession of these weapons,” he said.
The SSS told the court that the application by accused Lebanese “frivolous and intended to pervert cause of justice’.”
Justice Adeniyi Ademola adjourned the case to Monday, June 24, for reply on points of law by the two counsels after listening to both parties.