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Arms: Lebanese appear in court

13 June 2013, 16:05

Abuja, June 13, 2013(NAN) The State Security Service (SSS) on Thursday complied  with a court order and produced the three Lebanese men allegedly involved in the importation of arms into the country.

The SSS brought the suspects Mustapha Fawaz, the owner of Amigo Supermarket, Abdallah Tahini and Tala Roda to the court.

On June 11, Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the SSS, the Inspector-General of police (I-G) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to produce the trio.

The suspects had, last week, sued the SSS, I-G and AGF challenging their arrest and continued detention.

They also faulted the closure of their business premises by security agents, and demanded a public apology from the SSS, I-G and AGF, to be published in three national dailies.

They are also asking for N50 billion compensation.

At the sitting of the court on Thursday, Counsel to the SSS, Mr Cliff Osagie, informed the court that following the court order, the SSS had produced the suspects in court.

"We have complied with the court order My Lord issued on June 11.

"The suspects are in court and in response, we have filed our counter affidavit in this matter,'' he said.

He, however, told the court that he filed the counter affidavit and served the papers on the defendant's Counsel, Mr Robert Clarke (SAN), in the court in the morning.

Cliff apologised to the court for the late filing of court processes on the defendant's counsel.

Responding, Clarke told the court that the SSS had complied with the court order of June 11 and produced the suspects in court.

He told the court that the counsel to the SSS served him with a copy of the counter affidavit to their motion in court.

"My Lord in all my years of practise, I have never seen where counsel will serve court papers in court on the day that

the court has fixed a case for hearing.

"It is not a tidy way of practise. We would have agreed to go and overlook this, but the counsel on the other side, in

his counter affidavit, mentioned some serious depositions.

"We will, therefore, need time within which to look at it and talk with our clients," he said.

Clarke told the court that he would need a reasonable time to go though the papers served on him and to prepare his reply.

He also urged the court to give an order to the SSS to allow the suspects access to their lawyers at all times.

Clarke also urged the court to order for an accelerated hearing in the suit.

Upon listening to both counsel, Justice Adeniyi ordered that they serve and exchange all court processes before Monday, June 17.

Adeniyi also ordered the SSS, in which custody the suspects have been, to allow them have access to their lawyers at all times.

The judge, then adjourned hearing to June 21, in the suspects' Motion on Notice which was dated June, 3.

The suspects are praying for an interim order granting them bail forthwith conditionally or unconditionally,

pending the determination of the substantive Motion on Notice in the matter.

They are also praying for an Interim Order restraining the SSS, I-G and AGF from continued arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of their families, relations and/or business interests, pending the determination of the substantive Motion on Notice in the matter.

 - NAN

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