Insecurity: Detained Lebanese belong to Hezbollah’s military wing, says FG
The Federal Government has filed a formal charge of six counts against the three Lebanese being held over alleged terrorism activities.
The government also said yesterday that the three– Abdullahi Thaini, Mustapha Fawaz and Tahal Roda–belong to the military wing of Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
“Hezbollah has a military wing. In the next few days, Nigerians will know more about this,” State Attorney, Clifford Osagie told a Federal High Court yesterday in Abuja.
The three are being held for their alleged unlawful importation and stockpiling of cache of firearms and ammunition.
Osagie said the charge filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) charges the suspects with offences bordering on terrorism.
It was learnt that the charge filed on Thursday was yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.
Osagie spoke while arguing a counter affidavit the state filed against a fundamental rights enforcement application filed by the three.
He said men of the State Security Service (SSS) found in the homes of the suspects prohibited firearms and ammunition as against their claim that what was found in their homes were “mere rifles and hunting guns.”
Osagie argued that under the Firearms Act, the weapons found in the homes of the suspects “can not be issued without licence. The applicants should have exhibited receipts of purchase of the weapons and the licence enabling them to carry such deadly weapons.”
He urged the court not to serve as refuge for people whose activities allegedly threaten and undermine the nation’s security.
“This is a case where the security of the country has been brought to question by individuals who have benefited and made immense wealth from the liberality of this country.
“The activities of the applicants threaten the national and corporate existence of the country. They cannot lift up their fundamental human right as a basis to breach national security.
They cannot use this court, through any form of application, to achieve any aim that is contrary to the national security of the country,” Osagie said.
He denied the applicants’ claim that their arrest and detention by the state violated their fundamental rights to liberty.
Osagie said the SSS observed due process and procured the necessary warrants from the court, both in Kano and Abuja, before detaining them.
He noted that although the detention warrant issued by a Magistrate’s Court in Karu, Abuja lapsed on June 19, the suspects were still being held on the order of remand earlier made by the Federal High Court, Abuja.
The Magistrate’s Court had on June 19 discharged them, having struck out the First Information Report filed against the suspects upon an application by the state to withdraw it to allow the filing of a formal charge before the court with competent jurisdiction.
Osagie urged the court to dismiss the suspects’ application for being frivolous, intended to perverse the course of justice, and for “not being in the interest of Nigeria and its national security.”
The applicants’ lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN) had while arguing his clients’ application, faulted their continued detention.
He faulted the remand warrants obtained by the SSS and on which basis the suspects were detained.
He argued that the warrants, having been issued by Magistrate’s Courts, were not competent.
Raji contended that since Magistrate’s Courts lack the jurisdictional competence to hear terrorism-related cases, they could also not order the remand of people held for such offence.
He denied that his clients owned the house in which deadly arms and ammunition were found in a bunker in Kano. He said what were found with his clients were “mere rifles and hunting guns.”
He urged the court to grant his clients’ application and set them free.
Presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, adjourned to June 24 for Raji to reply on point of law to Osagie’s argument.
The judge ordered that the suspects be returned to SSS’ custody and to be reproduced in court on the next date
The suspects had sued the SSS, Inspector General of Police and AGF, challenging their arrest and continued detention.
They also faulted the closure of the business premises by security agents; demanded for a public apology from the defendants, to be published in three national dailies, and N50 billion compensation.