The detainees’ lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, told The PUNCH on Tuesday that Justice Egwuatu was supposed to sign the release warrant of his clients today but the bail office of the court informed him that the presiding judge travelled out of the country on short notice.
The court had asked each of the 12 detainees to get two sureties each, making it a total of 24 sureties. The detainees had secured the sureties last week but the bail office of the court said it needed to write letters to the offices of the 24 sureties to get more confirmation.
Olajengbesi said the confirmation of the sureties had been completed, adding that he was at the bail office of the court on Tuesday waiting for the judge to sign the release order of his clients but he was told that Justice Egwuatu had travelled out.
“We have met all the bail conditions and the deputy registrar at the bail office has signed a memo to that effect. However, I was told by the bail office that the judge that will sign their release order has travelled out urgently for a seminar and will not return till next week,” the detainees’ lawyer told our correspondent.
The lawyer said the sudden trip of the judge was a plan to delay the release of his clients after their detention for about 50 days in the custody of the Department of State Services.
DSS operatives had arrested the 12 persons on July 1, 2021, during a raid on Igboho’s Ibadan residence around 1am.
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, had said the secret police killed two other associates of the activist in a “gun duel.”
The 12 detained persons had approached the court through their lawyers led by Olajengbesi to seek their release in line with their fundamental human rights.
The aides are Abdullateef Onaolapo, Tajudeen Irinloye, Dikeola Ademola, Ayobami Donald, Uthman Adelabu, Olakunle Oluwapelumi, Raji Kazeem, and Taiwo Tajudeen; while the four aides are Amudat Babatunde, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Oyetunji, and Bamidele Sunday.
Justice Egwuatu had on August 4, 2021 admitted the 12 applicants to bail.
The 12 persons have spent about 50 days in the custody of the secret police in Abuja but the DSS through its lawyer, Idowu Awo filed a remand application, asking the court to nullify the bail earlier granted to four of the 12 detained associates of Igboho.
Awo said investigations revealed that the four detainees were heavily involved in the alleged offence of arms stockpiling and other criminal activities of their boss, Sunday Igboho.