A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the Directorate of State Security (DSS) to immediately release Mr. Selky Torughedi, an ex-militant who has been detained by the directorate for almost two months.
Delivering judgment last week in an application filed by counsel to the suspect, Emeka Uchegbulam, seeking for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights under Sections 34, 35, 36 and 41 of the 199 constitution as amended, Honorable Justice Nnamdi Dimgba said the state security service erred in law to have detained Selki Torughedi for such a length of time without any single tangible evidence of culpability.
Justice Dimgba averred that the explanations given by the DSS were wide and very speculative, noting that the justification offered for the continuous incarceration of the suspect were bereft of any shred of evidence to back them up. He said the court can only act on the basis of credible evidence.
The DSS had arrested Selky Torughedi in Calabar on June 17th 2016 and detained him ever since in their headquarters in Abuja. Thereafter, they deposed to an affidavit before the court that the suspect is a high ranking member and sponsor of the Niger Delta Avengers and that he was arrested for his involvement in acts of militancy, terrorism, kidnapping, blowing up pipelines and plans to assassinate some top government officials in the country.
Against the backdrop of these allegations, they said it would be prejudicial to free the suspect as it would constitute a threat to national security.
But Justice Dimgba overruled these allegations. According to him, the DSS has no single proof to offer to back their claims .Such proof he said could have been in the form of a call log from communication companies showing discussions which the suspect has had with militant members plotting the nefarious activities which the DSS alleged him to be involved in.
It could have been in the form of statements offered by other arrested members pointing out the suspect as their member. The DSS, he said did not even deem it fit to exhibit any confessional statement made by the applicant for the court to evaluate and neither did they explain in what form the applicants sponsorship of the militant group had taken whether it was financial, material or just moral sponsorship.
The Judge also made the DSS to realize the futility of its position on the continuous detention of Torughedi when he said a suspect who is accused of planning to blow up pipelines and commit other crimes couldn’t have been arrested at midnight in the bosom of his wife; one should expect that he would be in the creeks with his comrades at arms.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba lamented that the DSS has not provided him with sufficient materials to enable him believe that the storyline presented to justify the continuous incarceration of Selki Torughedi without charging him to court within the period prescribed by sections 35(4) and (5) of the constitution.
In the absence of such concrete material Justice Dimgba ruled that” any incarceration that was not backed by order of a competent court is illegal, unconstitutional and must be shot down by the court, being the guardian of those sacred rights secured by the constitution”.
He therefore, ordered that Selki Torughedi be released immediately.
However, one week after the judgment was given and the ruling served on the DSS they are still holding on to Selki Torughedi.