Court declines to compel DSS to free Capital Oil boss, Ifeanyi Ubah

Federal High Court, Lagos

A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, Friday, declined to give ruling in the suit demanding that the Department of State Services, DSS, be compelled to free the managing director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah who was arrested last week Friday over his alleged connection with a claimed theft of petrol kept in his tank farm in Lagos by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation which was valued at over N11 billion.

At the hearing of the case on Friday the 12th of May, 2017, Justice Idris, while entertaining the case, said that he would not give any judgment in the case because an appellate court had been engaged to give judgment in the suit. He said though his court had on May 9, 2017 ordered the production of the applicant by the respondents, the DSS however, also had obtained an order from an FCT High Court, Abuja remanding the applicant.

Justice Idris however described the situation the court found itself as sad and unfortunate.

“On May 9, 2017, upon hearing the applicant’s ex-parte application, the court directed the fourth and fifth applicants to produce the applicant in court today.

“From the record of the court, it shows that the ruling was served on the respondents on May 10, 2015, by 10 am. It was also shown that the respondents on the same day obtained an order remanding the applicant from my learned brother Halilu J of FCT High Court.

“It’s clear that there is a direct conflict between the order of this court and of my learned brother Halilu J of FCT High Court.

“Court of the same jurisdiction have been cautioned on a matter like this. I will in the circumstance of this case act with great caution. I will not make any order that will have effect of neutralizing the effect of the order made by the High Court of FCT.

“In line with the order made on May 10, 2017, I will not make an order to produce the applicant since parties in the case have been served and matter adjourned till May 18, 2017, I shall adjourn till May 18, 2017, when all applications and Notice of Preliminary Objection shall be heard.”

Recall that the court had on may 9, while granting an ex-parte application filed and argued by Ubah’s lawyer,  Ifeoma Esom, ordered the DSS and its Director-General to produce him in court today, or show cause while he should not be produced.

Ubah’s lawyer, Ajibola Oluyede had urged the court to order immediate release of his client, Ubah, due to flagrant disobedience of the order of the court made on May 8, 2017.

Oluyede told the court that instead of the DSS to produce him as ordered by the court, the DSS served them with Notice of Preliminary Objection. He also told the court that DSS went to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, and obtained a remand order of his client despite the fact that a Lagos Federal High court in Lagos has ordered that he should be produced in court today.

Oluyede further told the court that in disobeying the court order, the DSS and its Director-General acted in subversion to the authority and dignity of the court, by utilizing what he termed as ‘abuse of court and power.

But in his response, the lawyer representing DSS and its Director-General, Peter Okerinmade, told the court to discountenance the submissions made by Ubah’s lawyer, saying his agency had filed an application before the court challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain Ubah’s application.

He also said that Ubah was arrested in Abuja on May 6, 2017 and not in Lagos as claimed by his lawyer.

He also told the court that the agency secured a remand order of the applicant on May 10, 2017.

Justice Idris however adjourned the case till May 18, 2017, indicating that the DSS will continue to detain Dr. Ubah for a further 14 days.