Raymond Dokpesi, the director general of Ibrahim Babangida’s presidential campaign organisation, maintained at a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday that he had no connection with the Independence Day bomb blast which killed 19 people.
The State Security Service (SSS) had detained Mr Dokpesi shortly after two car bombs exploded in Abuja on October 1. The service defended its questioning of Mr Dokpesi, saying he had exchanged texts messages with some of the persons suspected of complicity in the twin blasts.
Mr Dokpesi is suing the service over the interrogation, which lasted several hours. He is seeking a declaration that his arrest and detention were unlawful and a violation of his rights. The SSS warned that if the court intervened in the matter, it would tie up the hands of the service and impede its efforts to promote national security.
Counsel to the SSS and the Attorney General of the Federation, Alex Izinyion, said the service was statutorily empowered to invite any person for questioning on matters of national security. He said Mr Dokpesi had been invited to clarify a statement made by Edmond Ebiware, a suspect arrested in connection with the attack. Mr Ebiware said he had met Mr Dokpesi some days before the attacks and claimed he received N4 million from him.
“In the process of his investigation, Mr Dokpesi was granted bail and requested to show up for further investigation,” said Mr Izinyon.
Dokpesi lays it bare
However, Kanu Agabi, counsel to Mr Dokpesi, said his client was not aware of the person referred to in the text messagse, noting that there were several persons bearing the name Dokpesi.
“As such he is seeking a declaration that since he is not involved in or in any way associated with the person or persons, organisation or organisations responsible for the bomb blast ... He has committed no offence to warrant his continued arrest or detention or questioning or harassment or intimidation by 1st Respondent as a suspect in that connection,” said Mr Agabi.
He urged the court to dismiss the suit as “frivolous and constituting gross abuse of judicial process.” Furthermore, Mr Agabi wanted a declaration that the service’s arrest, detention, harassment and undue questioning constituted a gross violation of Mr Dokpesi’s rights and was unlawful and unconstitutional.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Thursday, Mr Agabi, said that he needed more time to file a response to an earlier affidavit filed by SSS challenging Mr Dokpesi’s claim that the service had violated his fundamental human rights. Mr Izinyon also sought an extension of time to file his objection and written addresses, in opposition to Mr Dokesi’s claims. The presiding Judge, Abdullahi Kafarati adjounrned the matter to December 8, for adoption of addresses.