Three months after detention, fate of pastor remains unknown

THE Nigerian Army yesterday failed to produce Pastor Halilu Gimba of the Deeper Christian Life Church, Kunini in Lau Local Council of Taraba State, as directed by a Yola High Court on June 1, 2012.

Gimba was detained by the Army three months ago and after failed attempts to secure his release, his wife approached the court, which she asked to end her husband’s ordeal.

Gimba was arrested by officers of the 23-Armoured Brigade, Yola, on March 15, 2012, over alleged link with a woman who was arrested at a military checkpoint with three rifles.

A week after Gimba’s arrest, the Army paraded him with two other suspects, where the spokesman of the 23 Armoured Brigade, Lt. Olukoya Victor, told journalists that the suspects would be handed over to police for prosecution in court.

Since then, none of the suspects has been arraigned in court, which forced Gimba’s wife, Hauwa, to file a case at the Yola High Court, seeking the court order on the Army to produce her husband.

The case took a curious dimension when the police authorities in the state denied that the Army handed over Gimba to them for any interrogation.

A senior officer in the state Police Command told The Guardian yesterday that the Army handed over only two suspects to them and that Gimba was not one of them.

In the originating summons by the applicant dated May 17, 2012, Hauwa asked the court to declare that the respondents (Army) lack the power to arrest and detain her husband indefinitely. She also sought a declaration that the arrest and continued detention of the cleric by the respondents was illegal.

On June 1, 2012, the court granted the motion ex-parte of the applicant and ordered the defendants to produce Gimba in court yesterday.

The court also restrained the defendants from taking further actions against the detainee until the case was determined.

At yesterday’s session, the Army failed to produce Gimba in court.

There was also no information on the whereabouts of the clergyman as the Nigerian Army was silent on the matter.

When The Guardian contacted the Army Spokesman (Victor) in Yola on the whereabouts of Gimba, he said he lacked the power to speak on the matter.

Victor said he would contact the Chief of Staff to the Brigade Commander for further directive.

In six-page affidavit in support of the originating summons, the applicant attached exhibits to prove that the Army took her husband into custody.


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