From Pwanagba Agabus, Jos
Two suspects being detained at the Military Taskforce Headquarters (Operation Safe Haven OPSH) in Jos, Plateau State have dragged the Federal Government and the OPSH to a State High Court for breach of their fundamental human rights.
The duo are demanding for N1 billion as general demages for breach of their fundamental human rights and prayed for an order restricting them, their privies and representatives from further arrest and detention for no just cause.
The suspects, Messers Zakka Dung and Joel Sunday; were allegedly arrested by operatives of the taskforce on January 26, 2019, while playing football at Sabon-Barki, in Jos South Local Government Area without been told of their offences.
Our correspondent reports that ever since till now, the duo had been in the custody of the STF.
On March 5, Justice Daniel Longji, of Plateau State High Court IV, had ordered the Operation Safe Haven, OPSH, to release on bail, the two suspects but it refused to heed to the order and still keeps them in its custody.
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 have to grant this bail for 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 continuous detention without trial, ’’ he explained.
Consequently, the two suspects instituted another court action, this time against the federal governmenment and the STF over what they described an “enforcement of fundamental rights‘’ under the African Charter on Human rights (Ratificating 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 as 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.
The suspects, in an originating motion through their Counsel, Gyang Zi, had prayed the State High Court to for an order to enforced their fundamental human rights.
According to the suspects, they are being subjected to various torture, severe inhuman and degrading treatment as “they are being fed only ones a day and beat tehm three times every day.’’
They also prayed to court to declare their arrest, assault, tortulre 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 furher arresting and detaining them for no just cause.
It would be recalled that 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 did not know nothing about.
“It has been difficult to have the taskforce 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.