The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has ordered the Department of State Service to produce Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah in court on Friday, May 12, 2017, to show why he should not be released unconditionally.
Justice Mohammed Idris gave the ruling on Tuesday in an ex-parte application filed by Mr Ubah’s counsel, Mrs Ifeoma Esom, to compel his release from the DSS’ custody where he has been since Saturday, May 6.
She told the court that unless it orders the applicant to be produced in court within 48 hours, the agency would continue to keep him in their custody, where they might “coerce him into acceding to whatever conditions they impose on him in exchange for his freedom”.
An affidavit by one George Oranuba, the Secretary of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, claimed that the DSS acted in disregard of “the constitutional doctrine of separation of power and sanctity of the judicial process”.
The document also claimed that Ubah’s arrest was in respect of certain allegations made against him by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, which were already encumbered by a lawsuit.
The DSS claimed that the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited was arrested over “economic sabotage”, and alleged diversion of petroleum products to the tune of N11bn.
It was also reported that petroleum products, belonging to NNPC Retail and stored in the Capital Oil farm in Lagos under a ‘throughput agreement’, purportedly went missing under controversial circumstances.
Mr Oranuba, however said the throughput agreement allowed “conversion and diversion of its products by ‘operators’, so long as the operator is prepared to re-deliver the products within seven days of demand by the products owner, or to pay a penalty for non-re-delivery”.
He explained further that failure to re-deliver was a ‘mere’ breach of contract, remediable by the payment of penalty to the owner.
The Capital Oil and Gas Secretary stated that there can be no issue of crime in conversion or diversion of product, saying it does not call for the intervention of any law enforcement agency.
He claimed that NNPC was indebted to the company in sum in “excess of N13bn”, yet the company did not call law enforcement agencies to collect the debt, despite the length of time NNPC has held on to the money.