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Court orders DSS to release activists arrested at Dunamis church

By Olalekan Awojodu
Abuja

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Monday ordered the release five worshipers who were arrested at Dunamis International Gospel Centre on July 4 by the Department of State Services ( DSS) for allegedly wearing t-shirts with inciting inscriptions.

The applicants, Ben Manasseh, Anene Udoka, Henry Nwodo, Samuel Larry and Samuel Gabriel were arrested for wearing ‘Buhari Must Go’ T-shirts to a Sunday Service at Dunamis International Gospel Centre Headquarters at Lugbe.

Justice Anwuli Chikere gave the order following separate ex parte applications filled on their behalf by their lawyer, Mr Tope Temokun.

Justice Chikere ordered the DSS to release the applicants with immediate effect.

They had sued the DSS, President Muhammadu Buhari, the church’s pastor-in-charge, Pastor Paul Enenche and others for alleged unlawful arrest and detention.

In the suit, they prayed the court to declare their arrest and detention unlawful, also asked the court to award N10 million, each, in damages, for the violation of their fundamental rights.

The suits are marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/631/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/636/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/638/2021, and FHC/ABJ/CS/639/2021.

Temokun had argued in the separate suits that his clients were entitled to fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, right to freedom of expression and the press, right to freedom from discrimination and right to personal liberty.

According to him, the rights are guaranteed under Sections 35, 38, 39 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and under Articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Ratification and Enforcement.

Other defendants include the Director-General of the DSS, Mr Yusuf Bichi and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Justice Chikere has since adjourned the matter until Aug. 2 for hearing.

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