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Unlawful detention: Two suspects sue FG, STF, demand N1bn in damages

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Unlawful detention: Two suspects sue FG, STF, demand N1bn in damages

Two suspects being detained at the Military Special Task Force (STF) Headquarters in Jos, Plateau have sued the Federal Government and the task force in High Court, demanding N1 billion as general damages for breach of their fundamental human

Zakka Dung and Joel Sunday also prayed for an order restricting the FG and the STF, their privies and representatives from further arresting and detaining them for no just cause.

Dung and  Sunday were allegedly arrested by members of the task force on Jan. 26, while playing football at Sabon-Barki, in Jos South Local Government without being told of their offence.

On March 5, Justice Daniel Longji, of Plateau State High Court IV, had ordered the STF to release the suspects on bail,

Longji said, “My heart bleeds for this country. It is scary. It is sad to see people or agencies, that are supposed to be responsible for protecting the laws of the land, breaking the laws.’’

“I granted this bail to the two suspects because the task force has refused to charge them to court or release them. That situation forced them (suspects), to file a case against their continued detention without trial, ’’ he explained.

Consequently, the two suspects instituted another court action, this time against the federal government and the STF over what the described an “enforcement of fundamental rights ‘’ under the African Charter on Human rights (Ratification and Enforcement Act).

Joined in the suit are the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the federation, Chief of Defence Staff, and Maj. Gen. Augustine Chris-Chukwudi Agundu, STF Commander.

The suspects, in an originating motion through their counsel, Mr Gyang Zi, had prayed the State High Court for an order to enforce their fundamental human rights.

They alleged that they were subjected to various torture, severe inhuman and degrading treatment as “they are being fed only once a day.’’

They also prayed the court to declare their arrest, assault, torture and detention for over two months now without any just cause, despite a court order granting them bail,“ illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional.’’

The suspects also prayed the court to give an order directing and the respondents to release them from the STF custody or any other custody wheresoever forthwith as well as restraining them from further arresting and detaining them for no just cause.

The case, which is before Justice S.P. Gang, Barkin Ladi High Court, has been fixed for April 18, 2019, for mention.

However, Justice Daniel Longji, who had granted the suspects bail, said that the suspects had approached the court seeking for bail over a crime or crimes they claimed they knew nothing about.

“It has been difficult to have the task force accept service for this case until we routed it through substituted service. Even after that, the STF refused to show appearance before this court up till date.

“Since the security outfit refused to appear before me and explain why the suspects are being detained for this long, I have no option than to grant them bail in accordance with section 35 (1)(4) of the 1999 constitution.

“STF is a military outfit which thinks it is above the law. We don’t have arms, but we have mouths. Bail is hereby granted to the suspects in the sum of 100,000 and a surety each.

“I hereby condemn the action and attitude of the STF and hope that such unconstitutional act won’t be repeated,’’ Justice Longji declared.

NAN

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