The Federal High Court, Abuja has ordered the Department of State Services to release five worshipers who were arrested at Dunamis International Gospel Centre on July 4 for allegedly wearing t-shirts with inciting inscriptions.
The applicants: Ben Manasseh, Anene Udoka, Henry Nwodo, Samuel Larry and Samuel Gabriel, filed separate suits.
Justice Anwuli Chikere gave the order following separate ex parte applications filled on their behalf by their lawyer, Tope Temokun.
Justice Chikere ordered that the DSS should release the applicants with immediate effect.
They had sued the DSS, President Muhammadu Buhari, the church’s pastor-in-charge, Pastor Paul Enenche, and others for alleged unlawful arrest and detention.
The plaintiffs, who urged the court to declare their arrest and detention unlawful, also asked the court to award N10 million, each, in damages, for the violation of their fundamental rights.
The suits are marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/631/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/636/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/638/2021 and FHC/ABJ/CS/639/2021.
Temokun had argued in the separate suits that his clients were entitled to fundamental right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, right to freedom of expression and the press, right to freedom from discrimination and right to personal liberty.
According to him, the rights are guaranteed under Sections 35, 38, 39 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and under Articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Ratification and Enforcement.
Other defendants include the Director-General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The matter has been adjourned until August 2 for hearing.