The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday, debunked media report that no judge was available to sign the warrant for the release of the 12 persons arrested at the residence of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, after they perfected all their bail conditions.
Igboho’s associates are yet to regain their freedom about 14 days after they were granted bail by the high court.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu had in a ruling on August 4, admitted the 12 applicants who have been in detention since July 1, on bail in the aggregate sum of N80 million.
Meanwhile, the court gave four of them— Amudat Habitat Babatunde, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah Oyetunji and Bamidele Sunday— whose bail applications were opposed by the Department of State Services, DSS, bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties in the like sum.
It granted bail to eight others that the DSS did not raise any objection to their applications— Abdulateef Ademola Onaolapo, Tajudeen Irinyole, Diekola Jubril Ademola, Ayobami Donald and Uthman Opeyemi Adelabu— to the tune of N5 million with two sureties in the like sum.
The court held that the sureties must be residents in Abuja, adding that one of them must be a civil servant not below grade level 12.
It held that the civil servant must submit a letter of employment and last promotion letter, as well as tender a passport photograph.
All the sureties were directed to submit evidence of payment of tax for the past three years and also depose to an affidavit of means.
More so, the court directed the four applicants whose bail request was opposed, to report to the office of the DSS every first Monday of the month, for three months, commencing from September 1.
However, about two weeks after the detained persons secured bail, their lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, reportedly decried the absence of the trial judge to sign the warrant for their release.
Olajengbesi reportedly told journalists that his findings revealed that the judge travelled outside the country for a seminar.
Reacting to the development, the high court, in a statement that was issued by its Chief Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Gakko, said it was not true that Justice Egwuatu “disappeared”, as reported in the media.
Gakko explained that contrary to the claim in the media, Justice Egwuatu went on a national assignment outside the country.
He stated that though the court is currently on vacation, there were judges on ground to handle such matters.
Gakko added that the other vacation judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed could sign the bail warrant, adding that the lawyer to the detainees ought to have met the Registrar of the court for directions.
Gakko said there was no reason for a judge to disappear after he granted bail to the applicants.
He, therefore, implored journalists to always approach the court to cross-check their facts before publication.