Chris Steven, Abuja
Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako has ordered the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubkar Malami and the Nigerian Army to produce medical doctor, Mohammed Mari Abba, who was accused of link with Boko Haram in court.
The court further ordered the Army to in the alternative charge him to court
Abba, a Consultant with World Health Organization, WHO, was arrested in Yobe State in 2012 and up till now, according to his counsel, Ocholi Okutepa, has remained in detention.
In her ruling on a suit filed by Abba, through his counsel, Okutepa, to challenge his continuous detention, Justice Nyako told the Army to show cause why she should not order that the suspect should be released unconditionally, if they fail to produce him.
Joined in the suit to enforce his fundamental rights are attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the federal government of Nigeria, the Inspector-General of Police, the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Nigerian Army and tthe Director-General, State Security Service.
Justice Nyako held, “The first thing I wish to raise in this case is on the case of the applicant. This applicant (Abba) who is suing in person is “missing”. From the applicant’s case, this is not by proxy or on his behalf is rather puzzling to me. The applicant according to his wife who deposed to the affidavit in support of the application is being kept. By the respondent in undisclosed place and his where about is unknown.
“However curiously, I have come across a process in the file dated 10/06/16 on behalf of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th respondents (AGF, FG, IGP, CDS) which claimed that the applicant has been charged. In suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/138/2015.
“If this is correct, then, it will be safe to assume the 1st; 2nd, 3rd and 5th respondents have an idea where the applicant may be. So as not to embark on exercise in futility, i hereby order the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th respondents to produce the applicant before the court withing 60 days or charge him to court. On the alternative, they should show cause why I should not order them to release the applicant unconditionally”.
Before the ruling of the court, Abba had asked the court to declare his arrest and detention since 2012 without a valid court order as not only illegal and unlawful but grossly unconstitutional and a grave infringement on his fundamental rights to personal liberty.
He also asked the court to award N500million as damages for his illegal detention.