The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN) has taken over the trial of three Lebanese businessmen held over alleged terrorism activities.
The suspected Lebanese terrorists who were separately arrested by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) are Abdullahi Thaini, Mustapha Fawaz and Tahal Roda.
Their sympathisers and staff, six of who are Lebanese, yesterday stormed the Abuja Federal High Court in solidarity with the detained suspected terrorists.
The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation which had already filed a fresh six-count charge touching on terrorism against the suspects before the Abuja Federal High Court had disclosed that the Lebanese suspects belonged to the military wing of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
The charge by Adoke (SAN) replaces the defective one filed by the SSS before the Karu Chief Magistrate Court which had since been struck out by the court for want of subject-matter jurisdiction.
The federal government had told Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court yesterday that the mask which the trio of Abdullahi Thaini, Mustapha Fawaz and Tahal Roda were wearing to camouflage as businessmen in Nigeria would be totally removed In the next few days for Nigerians and the whole world to know the true identities of the accused.
State Attorney, Clifford Osagie, told the Federal High Court yesterday in Abuja during proceedings in a N5billion fundamental rights lawsuit brought by the suspected terrorists against the SSS, the police and the Attorney-General of the Federation for alleged wrongful arrest and detention.
Osagie said the charge filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was properly entered at the court registry on Thursday, this week.
The charge, it was learnt, is yet to be assigned. Osagie spoke while arguing a counter affidavit the SSS filed against a fundamental rights enforcement application filed by the three.
He said men of the State Security Service (SSS) found in the homes of the suspects prohibited firearms and ammunition as against their claims that what was found in their homes were “mere riffles and hunting guns.” Osagie argued that under the Firearms Act, the weapons found in the homes of the suspects “cannot be issued without licence.
“The applicants should have exhibited receipts of purchase of the weapons and the license enabling them to carry such deadly weapons.” He urged the court not to serve as refuge for people whose activities allegedly threaten and undermine the nation’s security.
“This is a case where the security of the country has been brought to question by individuals, who have benefitted and made immense wealth from the liberality of this country. “The activities of the applicants threaten the national and corporate existence of the country.
They can not lift up their fundamental human right as a basis to breach national security. “They cannot use this court, through any form of application, to achieve any aim that is contrary to the national security of the country,” Osagie said.
He denied the applicants’ claim that their arrest and detention by the state violated their fundamental right to liberty. Osagie said the SSS observed due process and procured the necessary warrants from the court, both in Kano and Abuja before detaining them.
He noted that although the detention warrant issued by a Magistrate’s Court in Karu, Abuja, lapsed on June 19 the suspect were still being held on the order of remand earlier made by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He urged the court to dismiss the suspects’ application for being frivolous; intended to perverse the course of justice, and for “not being in the interest of Nigeria and its national security.”
The applicants’ lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), had while arguing his clients’ application, faulted their continued detention.