YES, WE INVITED DOKPESI OVER ABUJA BOMB BLASTS â€“ SSS
The State Security Service admitted in Abuja Tuesday that it actually invited the Director-General of the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Presidential Campaign Organistation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, over the twin bomb blasts that rocked Abuja during the nation's 50th independence anniversary.
Besides, the security outfit further admitted that Dokpesi was quizzed for several hours at its headquarters following the incident.
The admission, which has put paid to earlier denial by the SSS that Dokpesi was not interrogated in connection with the incident was contained in its preliminary objections, challenging the legal actions commenced against it by Dokpesi.
It was Marlyn Ogar, the service spokesperson, who denied that Dokpesi was invited in connection with the incident.
Specifically, SSS said Dokpesi was invited for questioning over the bomb blasts on the premise of some texts messages which established a nexus between him and some persons suspected of complicity in the dastardly act.
Counsel to the SSS, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) contended in the said preliminary objection that since the SSS was statutorily empowered to invite any person for questioning on matters bordering on national security, Dokpesi's action amounted to inviting the court into breaching the powers and compromising the duties of the Service.
'The issue in this case which led to the invitation of the applicant by the 1st respondent relates to bomb blast where several innocent Nigerians lost their lives. It has to do with state security, which the 1st respondent is legally empowered to investigate,' Izinyon submitted.
'Edmond Ebiware, a suspect arrested in connection with the said bomb blast during investigation admitted meeting the applicant (Dokpesi) some days before the said bomb blast and also further admitted receiving the sum of N4million from the applicant,' he explained.
'Pursuant to its constitutionally guaranteed powers of investigation, the 1st respondent invited the applicant for questioning, following the aforesaid statements made by Edmond Ebiware. In the process of his investigation, the applicant was granted bail and requested to show up for further investigation,' he added.
He, therefore, argued that the action brought by Dokpesi, seeking 'a declaration that the arrest, detention, harassment and undue questioning of the applicant on the false, malicious and baseless allegation of implication in the bomb blast, which occurred on October 1, 2010 at the Eagle Square, Abuja constitutes a gross violation of the rights of the applicant and is unlawful and unconstitutional' is on a poor footing and, therefore, cannot be granted in law.
To buttress his point, Izinyon cited the case of A.G ANAMBRA STATE V. UBA (2005) 15 NWLR (PT. 947) 44 AT 67, PARAS. F - G, where the Court of Appeal held as follows: 'For a person, therefore to go to court to be shielded against criminal investigation and prosecution is an interference of powers given by the Constitution to law officers in the control of criminal investigation. The Plaintiff has no legally recognizable right to which the court can come to his aid. His claim is not one the court can take cognizance of for it has disclosed no cause of action. The Plaintiff cannot expect a judicial fiat preventing a law officer in the exercise of his constitutional power. This issue is resolved in favour of the Appellant.'
In a counter affidavit deposed to by Barrister Lukman Fagbemi, he drew the attention of the court to Dokpesi's averment that the SSS was very civil to him during the course of their meeting, adding that the media chief cannot at this stage make any contradictory evidence.
'We submit further that Exhibit 'A' attached to our counter affidavit clearly showed admission by the Applicant when he said that the 1st Respondent officials were very courteous to him and that they did not insult him.
The question begging for answer in the circumstances is how will the 1st Respondent whose officers were courteous to the Applicant and did not insult him, consequently acted in violation of sections 34(1) and 35 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Act. The Respondents averred in their respective Counter-Affidavit that the Applicant was offered food and water but that the Applicant declined the offer on the ground that he did not trust the 1st Respondent', Fagbemi averred.
Izinyon also argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to venture into the claims of the applicant as it was tantamount to inviting the court to tie up the hands of the respondent backward and impede its efforts to promote national security.
Consequently, he urged the court to refuse the reliefs sought by Dokpesi and dismiss the suit for being 'vexatious, frivolous and constituting gross abuse of judicial process.'
In the said suit filed by Dokpesi, he is praying for the following reliefs:
*A declaration that the Applicant, not being involved in or in any way associated with the person or persons, organization or organizations responsible for the bomb blast which occurred on the 1st day of October, 2010 at the Eagle Square Abuja, has committed no offence to warrant his continued arrest or detention or questioning or harassment or intimidation by 1st Respondent as a suspect in that connection.
*A declaration that the arrest, detention, harassment and undue questioning of the Applicant on the false, malicious and baseless allegation of implication in the bomb blast which occurred on the 1st day of October, 2010 at the Eagle Square, Abuja constitutes a gross violation of the rights of the Applicant and is unlawful and unconstitutional.
*A declaration that the Applicant is entitled to his rights to freedom of movement, personal liberty and human dignity as guaranteed and enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and Articles 5, 6 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right.
The sum of N100,000,000.00 (One Hundred Million Naira) as damages for the unlawful and unwarranted infringement by the Respondent of the Applicant's right to freedom of movement, personal liberty and human dignity