A Federal High Court in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Friday ordered the State Security Services to release a terror suspect, Alhaji Abdullahi Berende, on bail, pending an arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction.
The court, presided over by Justice Olayinka Faji, also said the arrest and detention of Berende without trial since December 17, 2012, under unwholesome condition, control and power of the SSS was illegal, baseless and unconstitutional.
According to a copy of the judgment made available to journalists in Ilorin on Sunday, the court also held that the continuous detention of Berende in the SSS custody is a gross and flagrant violation of the applicant’s fundamental human rights to freedom of movement.
The judge also awarded damages of N1.5m in favour of Berende against the SSS.
Faji said, “The respondents (SSS) are also ordered to release the applicant on bail pending his arraignment before a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“It may be that the respondents (SSS) are fighting scourge of terrorism, which affects national security. There is however a need to maintain the clear balance between law enforcement and protection of human rights.
“In the circumstances, therefore, I award a sum of N1.5m in favour of the applicant and against the respondents as damages.”
Berende had on January 13, 2013, sued the Director-General, SSS and Director, SSS, Ilorin and applied before the High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights.
The Deputy Director Public Relations, SSS, Marilyn Ogar, had on Wednesday February 20, 2013 said Berende, who is an Islamic teacher and a local leader of the Shiite sect in Ilorin, was observed to have made several suspicious trips to Iran where he allegedly interacted with some Iranians known to operate a high profile international terrorist network.
According to Ogar, the suspect confessed that in 2006, he gained admission to study a six-month course in modern Shi’a Islamic Teaching (Da’awa) at Imam Khomeini University, Iran but was recruited and trained in terror acts.
She stated that the Iranian sponsors requested Berende to identify and gather intelligence on public places and prominent hotels attended frequently by Americans and Israelis.