It is sad news for Nigerian billionaire and oil tycoon, Ifeanyi Ubah as a court in Lagos refused to release him.
A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos has refused application for the release of oil magnet, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah who was last week arrested by men Directorate of State Security Service over allegations of indebtedness.
According to PM News, the court had on may 9, while granting an ex-parte application filed and argued by Ubah’s lawyer, Mrs. Ifeoma Esom, ordered the DSS and its Director-General to produce him in court today, or show cause while he should not be produced.
However, at the hearing of the case today, Ubah’s lawyer, Mr Ajibola Oluyede, 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.
But the court declined to issue order for his release because of another court order from the FCT high court for his remand in prison.
In urging the court for immediate release of Ubah, 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.
Oluyede told the court that during his client’s second arrest, he was coerced to signed documents that he owned the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and to pledge to pay the debt with his assets. Whereas he was being owned by NNPC to the tune of N14. 039, 125, 125 billion.
He submitted that the DSS and its Director-General had not shown cause in compliance with court order while he should not be released.
He urged the court to order DSS to release Ubah immediately without further delay
Responding, the lawyer representing DSS and its Director-General, Mr. Peter Okerinmade, urged the court to discountenance the submissions made by Ubah’s legal team on the ground that his agency had filed an application before the court challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain Ubah’s application.
He told the court that Ubah was arrested in Abuja on May 6, 2017, 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.
This, he said, was sequel to a motion ex-parte for his remand filed before an Abuja Federal High Court.
He urged the court to discountenance the submission made by Ubah’s lawyer, and hear the agency’s notice of preliminary objection challenging the Court’s Jurisdiction to the suit.
Ruling on the submissions of the two parties, Justice Idris said though his court had on May 9, 2017 ordered the production of the applicant by the respondents, while DSS also obtained an order from an FCT High Court, Abuja remanding the applicant.
Justice Idris 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.
“The matter is hereby adjourned till May 18, 2017”.
Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah and his oil firm, Capital Oil and Gas, had instituted a fundamental right suit against the DSS and its Director-General, seeking his unconditional release from the custody of DSS
Joined in the suit are the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), The Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), NNPC Retail Limited, and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
Ubah in affidavit in support of the ex-parte application deposed to by the Secretary of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, George Oranuba, claimed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) arrested Ubah on account of allegations.
Oranuba said the issue had become a subject of litigation, adding that despite the subsisting suit, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the DSS invited Ubah for questioning.
According to him, Ubah had earlier been detained from March 24 to April 14, 2017. But the DSS had claimed that it arrested Ubah on alleged indebtedness to NNPC.