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Breaking: DSS release five activists arrested for wearing #BuhariMustGo T-shirts at Dunamis church

The five activists arrested at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja and detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) have finally regained their freedom. 

SaharaReporters reports hat the activists regained their freedom on Tuesday, 30 days after their arrest and detention in the custody of the DSS. 

The five had filed a contempt suit against the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, for disobeying the court order granting them bail.

Their lawyer, Tope Tomekun, filed the suit on their behalf at a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.

Justice Obiora Egwuatu had on Monday, July 26, granted bail to five activists who were arrested and detained by the DSS since July 4, 2021 for wearing T-shirts with inscription #BuhariMustGo to the church.

The court notice warned that the DSS DG risked being jailed.

The DSS had arrested Ben Mannaseh; Emmanuel Larry; Victor Udoka Anene; a blind saxophonist, Samuel Gabriel Iwatonaiye and Henry Nwodohave on July 4 on the church premises in Abuja for wearing #BuhariMustGo branded shirts

The activists subsequently sued the DSS, the senior pastor of the church, Paul Enenche and others for their unlawful arrest and detention.

They also asked the court to award N10 million each in damages for the violation of their fundamental human rights.

The judge, Justice Anwuli Chikere in his ruling, had ordered that the DSS should release the applicants with immediate effect.

The activists had also filed Form 48 against the DSS boss seeking his committal to jail unless he obeyed the order of the court.

Form 48, otherwise known as contempt of court sighted by SaharaReporters, is titled, “Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court.” 

It reads in part, “Take notice that unless you obey the directions contained in this endorsed order (herein with endorsed). You shall be guilty of contempt of court and shall be liable to be committed to prison.”

SaharaReporters had reported last Thursday that instead of complying with the initial order, the lawless secret agency hurriedly arraigned the activists on charges of disturbance of public peace which was to earn a face-saving justification for keeping them in custody.

Brought before the magistrate for arraignment on Wednesday, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Their lawyer subsequently applied for their bail.

Ruling, the magistrate, Mohammed Zubairu, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N500,000 with a surety each but the DSS operatives hurriedly drove the activists away before before they could perfect the bail conditions.

Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, speaking after their release, noted, “We want to appreciate everyone who stood firmly by these young men and the #Revolutionnow movement during their unjust incarceration-torture and dehumanisation in the hands of Dr. Paul Enenche’s church security before they were handed over to the DSS. 

“The lawsuit in pursuit of justice for the five revolutionaries will continue at the Federal High Court and administrative sanctions will be pursued against the Magistrate that ignored a superior court order ordering their release as well as the three DSS lawyers who flagrantly ignored the higher court orders to arraign them before the Magistrate. 

“Their lawyers will also pursue a contempt of court proceeding against the DG of DSS, Yusuf Bichi Mogaji in coming days. Special thanks to the lead lawyer in the case, Barrister Tope Tomekun and his team for a marvellous job challenging the authoritarian regime relentlessly!”

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