Court detains Nigerian suspected ISIS member for 60 days

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the detention of a Nigerian accused of being a member of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Emmanuel Osase, for 60 days.

The trial judge, Inyang Ekwo, gave the order following a motion ex-parte filed by the Department of State Servicesmarked FHC/ABJ/CS/409/2024.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, the applicant’s counsel, A. A Ugee, told the court that the matter was brought pursuant to Section 66(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

He prayed the court for an order enabling the applicant to detain the respondent for 60 days pending the conclusion of the investigation.

Ruling,  Justice Ekwo, a vacation judge, granted the prayer of the service.

He said, “Upon studying the averments in the affidavit, I hereby grant the relief as prayed. ”

Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter till June 3, 2024.

Osase, who was arrested on March 11, was accused of propagating the messages of the terrorist group, opposing the democratic system of government in Nigeria, and calling for terrorist attacks on Nigeria and its symbols of sovereignty.

In an affidavit dated March 27, 2024, and deposed to by an official of the Department of State Services attached to the Legal Service Department, National Headquarters, Abuja, the service sought an order to detain the suspect for 60 days, adding that the suspect’s release could jeopardise the investigation.

He said, “It is necessary for the applicant in the case to apply to this court for an order to detain the applicant for 60 days, pending the conclusion of an ongoing investigation in a case of terrorism;

“That the respondent was arrested by a team of personnel from the applicant’s office for alleged membership and propagation of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist messages, including opposition to the democratic system of government and the call for staging terrorist attacks against Nigeria and its symbols of sovereignty.”

Abubakar stated that Osase was jailed for five years for terrorism-related offences in France and was deported after the completion of his sentence.

He noted that from the service’s preliminary investigation,  Osase was still involved in terrorist activities.

Abubakar said the respondent still engaged with a proscribed pro-ISIS online media group known as “al-Alawn Media Foundation.

“That preliminary investigation revealed that the respondent, who is an ex-convict, still engages in terrorist activities which previously led to his conviction in France;

“That the respondent appeared not to have renounced his terrorist ideologies, as he continues to engage with the proscribed pro-ISIS online media group known as “al-Alawn Media Foundation” whose main objectives is the creation and dissemination of terrorist content and the promotion of terrorist attacks against Democratic Systems of Government such as Nigeria and the Western Governments including their interests across the globe;

“That the respondent who was born in the Federal Capital Territory left Nigeria for France and never returned to Nigeria until his deportation after completion of a five-year jail term in France for acts of terrorism and attempt to join the Islamic State (IS) linked terrorist group, Friqat Al-Ghuraba (Group of Foreigners) in Syria.”

Abubakar stated that the respondent, upon sighting operatives of the service, formatted his phone.

He said, “The respondent, at the point of arrest, formatted his mobile device to factory settings upon sighting security agents ostensibly to wipe out any suspicious contents on the device and cover up his nefarious activities;

“That the activities of the respondent constitute a potent threat to national security and corporate existence of Nigeria;”

He, however, urged the court to grant the request of the service, adding that there was a need to painstakingly probe the respondent to ensure he does not constitute a security treat to the country and world at large.

“That the release of the respondent at this time would jeopardise the investigation, as the investigation has assumed a wider dimension;

“That there is a need for a thorough investigation of the suspect to ensure that he does not pose any security threat to Nigeria or the world at large;

“That the respondent is helping with vital information that will lead to the arrest of other members who are still at large,” Abubakar stated.

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