A High Court sitting in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria has ordered the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the Nigeria Police and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), to release Rev. David Ugolor from detention immediately and unconditionally, pending the determination of the motion on notice.
Rev. Ugolor was detained by the police over allegations that he hired assassins to kill Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Secretary to Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole. He is the Executive Director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), a non-governmental organization based in Benin City.
Delivering her ruling on a bail application, the presiding judge, Justice E. A. Edigin agreed with the prayers of counsel to the applicant that through the averments, Exhibit G, the medical report and the affidavit of urgency, the life of the applicant is at risk and he should be released unconditionally forthwith.
"I believe therefore that the applicant will not run away or abscond and will stand to defend himself to the end of the case", the judge stated, adding that the application has merit and it succeeds, but noted that the prayer for bail cannot be granted because, for a bail to be granted, the person must be brought to court on a pending charge.
The Judge who noted that the respondents were in clear breach of section of S35 (4) and (5) of the 1999 constitution as amended, said that the law permits her to make such order or further orders as the court may deem fit in the circumstance of the case which the applicant has asked for.
Relying on Order 1V rule 4(c) (1) of the fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 2009 pending the determination of the substantive motion on notice ordered the respondents to release Rev. David Ugolor immediately and unconditionally.
"I hereby order the Respondents to release the Applicant unconditionally and forthwith from their detention anywhere they have kept him in this country to enable him attend to his failing health." Justice Edigin ordered.
Barr. Olayiwola Afolabi, leading twelve other Lawyers for Rev. David Ugolor hailed the judgment, saying "it is victory for democracy and rule of law in Nigeria."
Barr. Osaro Osemwengie, also counsel to the applicant, described the court pronouncement as a "landmark judgment in the enforcement of fundamental human rights in Nigerian democracy."
Civil Society Organisations who thronged the court premises took to the streets jubilating over the court judgment.
Meanwhile, Justice Edigin has adjourned till August 23, 2012 for hearing of the motion on notice.
Some suspects paraded by the State Security Service have made confessions implicating themselves in the assassination of Mr. Olaitan.