The Department of State Services has released the lawmaker representing the Abia South Senatorial District, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe. Abaribe’s media aide, Mr. Uchenna Awom, told our correspondent on Tuesday night that the lawmaker was back to his Abuja home as of 7:45pm. Also speaking with our correspondent, Abaribe’s lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, confirmed the release to our correspondent. “We are coming out of the office of the DSS,” he said. Asked if there was any condition attached to the bail, Ume said, “No condition except that he should be showing up from time to time. There is nothing more.” A statement later issued by the media aide read, “About 6.32pm on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe walked into freedom after five days in the DSS gulag. “Abaribe who was granted administrative bail was released to his lawyers led by Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN. “Thanks to Nigerians for standing up against the wrongs done to Nigeria’s democracy with the arrest of Senator Abaribe. The collective calls and demand for his release has shown the great spirit of Nigerians for justice.” Meanwhile, the Federal High Court on Tuesday rejected the request to order the release of Abaribe, who was arrested by the Department of State Services on Friday and has since been held in custody. Justice Binta Nyako turned down the request after declaring that Abaribe’s arrest and detention had nothing to do with his suretyship for the missing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. Justice Nyako had in April last year granted bail to Kanu with Abaribe and two others standing surety for him. Kanu, alongside others, was being prosecuted before Justice Nyako on charges bordering on treasonable felony, before he went missing after soldiers in an operation to quell pro-Biafra protests in the South-East, invaded his home in Abia State in September 2017. Since October 17, 2017, when the trial was supposed to resume, Abaribe and the two other sureties had been grappling with the burden to produce Kanu in court. The court, on March 28, 2018, ordered the senator and the two others to appear in court to show cause why they should not forfeit their bail bonds worth N100m each, or be imprisoned for their inability to produce the IPOB leader in court. The DSS arrested Abaribe on Friday without giving any reason for the arrest. But at the beginning of the Tuesday’s proceedings, the senator’s lawyer, Ume, called the judge’s attention to the senator’s presence in court as he tried to link the arrest to Kanu’s case. Ume said, “He is here but almost in chains. He only came here by the grace of the Office of the Director-General of the Department of State Services who held him incommunicado and only produced him for these proceedings. After the proceedings, they are taking him back.” But on each occasion that the lawyer tried to link the senator’s arrest to Kanu’s case, the judge rebuffed it. The judge said in a response, “How would I have known why he was arrested? “The arrest has nothing to do with this case because I did not order his arrest. The DSS is not an extension of the court and I did not order his arrest.” Giving the lawyer an hint to take the appropriate legal step instead of trying to link the arrest to Kanu’s case, Justice Nyako said, “If he has been arrested without any justification, you (referring to the lawyer) know what to do. “So, don’t bring the drama outside to my court,” the judge added. But despite the judge’s insistence that Abaribe’s arrest and detention had nothing to do with his suretyship for Kanu, the lawyer urged the court to order the senator’s release “to calm the tension outside.” Ume was referring to the placard-bearing crowd of young men outside the court premises holding up inscriptions and chanting songs in demand for the senator’s release. “May I orally apply that, your Lordship order the security service holding him to release him so that the tension outside can calm down,” Ume had said to the judge. But the judge in refusing the application only echoed the same line she had held onto from the beginning of the proceedings.]]>

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