The Department of State Services (DSS) has argued that journalist Jones Abiri was detained in the interest of national security.
Abiri had been detained for 2 years without a trial by the DSS and was eventually let out on bail in July 2018.
Abiri, the publisher of Weekly Source Newspaper, quickly sued the DSS after his release, alleging that he was tortured while in custody.
G. O Agbadua, counsel representing the DSS, has however argued in court that Abiri’s detention did not require a trail as it was in the interest of national security, The Cable reports.
National security trumps individual right, Agbadua argued.
Section 30(3) of ACJA where a suspect is taken into custody and it appears to the police officer in charge of the station that the offence is of a capital nature, the arrested suspect shall be detained in custody, and the police officer may refer the matter to the attorney-general of the federation for legal advice and cause the suspect to be taken before a court having jurisdiction with respect to the offence within a reasonable time.
It is of individual right to national security and rule of law, the state itself was a result of individuals submitting their powers, their rights to the state for protection.
Reading those provisions, we are of the view that since it’s individual right, it cannot supersede that of the national security and that bail in capital offence is not as of right.
However, Samuel Ogala, Abiri’s lawyer, has argued that it was the duty of a court to determine if Abiri was entitled to bail, not the DSS. He said:
What is rule of law and national security? It is the duty and responsibility of the court to say yes, this case is a capital offence or whether an applicant is entitled to bail or not,” he said.
“It is not the responsibility of the state security service to sit in their office, arrest, detain and punish a person.
“The issue of rule of law and national security is very clear, what I want the court to understand is that, the applicant’s detention is criminal intimidation and it is punishable.
The case has been adjourned until September 13 by the judge, Nnamdi Dimgba.