Navy: Labinjo, wife, other detainees not in our custody

Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Ibok Ete-Ibas

Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas. PHOTO CREDIT: SHIPS & PORTS.

The Nigerian Navy has said it does know the whereabouts of Niyi Labinjo, his wife, Bola (also known as Sherifat Ibe Lambert), one Benjamin Gold and 12 others who have been in its custody since last September.

This is despite the fact that the navy has filed an application in court seeking to continue to detain the 15 persons who have spent eight months in detention.

The Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore Suleman Dahun, said the navy had no clue as to their whereabouts on Monday.

When questioned as regards the whereabouts of the detainees, he said, “We don’t know where they are.”

The navy had arrested the 15 people for undisclosed reasons.

The detainees were dumped in a military detention facility at Apapa in Lagos. However, in order to legalise the arrest and detention of the detainees, the naval authorities obtained a remand warrant from a Magistrate Court sitting at Apapa.

But as the detainees who were incarcerated for over three months were not charged with any criminal offence the magistrate court reviewed their case on January 7, 2019 and ordered the naval authorities to release them from illegal custody forthwith.

In what was described as contempt of the valid order of the court, the navy transferred the detainees to another military detention facility in Abuja. 

Following the application by Bola Labinjo (also known as Sherifat Ibe Lambert) filed for the enforcement of her fundamental right to personal liberty, the Federal High Court directed the navy to release her.

But the order of the Federal High Court has equally been ignored by the navy.