Court hears Ijaw youth’s two-year illegal detention suit Dec. 8
The Bayelsa High Court sitting in Yenagoa has fixed December 8 for further hearing and appearance of witnesses in the suit filed by an Ijaw youth’s activist, Comrade Collins Trueman Opumie, over his alleged arrest and detention in an underground detention facilities in Abuja for 730 days by the Department of State Services (DSS).
The Presiding judge, Justice Ebiyon Duke Charlie, at the resumed hearing on Friday in the suit No. YHC/324/2022 adjourned the case until December 8, 2023 to allow for motions and hearing.
Justice Charlie also rejected the attempts by the counsel for the DSS, George Obiora Esq., to move for adjournment through a letter submitted to the court on the demise of his mother.
Both the counsel for the claimant, Ebipreye Sese Esq, and counsel for the Police, Silas Ebete Esq, objected to the request for ajournment through the letter, arguing that the letter was not filed before the court and served on all parties to the suit.
The activists, Comrade Opumie, had filed a suit against his illegal arrest and detention demanding N9bn for damages.
He is also praying the court to declare as illegal his arrest, torture and subsequent detention without proper food and medical attention and access to family members for two years for false Imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
In his eight prayers before the court, Opumie sought the order of the court against the defendants jointly and severally “for damages suffered as a result of the false imprisonment for two (2) years under the custody of the DSS (2nd set of defendants) in their prison facilities without bail or arraignment in a court of law at the instance of the Agip (1st set of defendants) for false and malicious complaints/reports against him.
Opumie, an indigene of Opuama community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state was among the Niger Delta youths that embraced the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
In his statement of claims, he accused the DSS in Yenagoa of allegedly abducting him at the instance of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in a gestapo style, physically and mentally torturing him, tying and throwing him into the boot of a vehicle and taken to Abuja like a common criminal without the knowledge of his family and access to medical care.
Meanwhile, the traditional rulers of Eniwari and Ogi-Ama communities of SILGA have declared their support for Opumie over the legal action taken against the Agip and the DSS.
The Chairman, Traditional Rulers Council of Southern Ijaw and the Amananawei of Enewari community, HRH Job David Dairus, expressed confidence in the ability of the judiciary to expedite action on the suit and ensure justice is served to Opumie.
Also the Amananawei of Ogila-Ama Community in Opuama Kingdom, HRH Kieri Ben Smith Idomo, expressed disatisfaction over the alleged oppressive operations of the oil exploration companies in their domain, alleging that the illegal arrest and detention of Opumie was one case too many.