© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
SSS shuns court order, awaits governor’s directive to release detained journalist
INIBEHE Effiong, the lead counsel to detained Akwa-Ibom based Journalist, Kufre Carter, said the State Security Services has disregarded a court order in service of governor Emmanuel Udom’s interest.
Effiong, in a press statement stated that after he had fulfiled all bail conditions on behalf of his client, SSS still has not released him.
The ICIR had reported how Carter was arrested by men of the SSS over a viral audio message criticising the State governor and the commissioner of health.
Effiong added that following an order application granted by Justice Archibong Archibong of the High Court of Akwa Ibom State, he went to the SSS quarters with relevant documents.
After waiting for several hours at the SSS office, men of the security agency told Effiong that the Attorney General of the state had written them not to grant the court order.
Effiong noted that from his discussion with the SSS officials, they were bent on not obeying the order until they get a directive from the governor.
“From my discussion with the SSS official on Friday, they ostensibly made it clear that they will not obey the Court Order for the release of our client except and until Governor Udom Emmanuel gives them directive to that effect,” Effiong wrote.
He said the SSS has no right to determine the effect of a bail order.
“By insisting that our client will only be released from their custody on the directive of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the SSS has flagrantly flouted the Order of Hon. Justice Archibong Archibong which commanded the immediate release of our client upon the perfection of his bail conditions without any further condition(s),” the statement further read.
Effiong noted that on behalf of Carter, a petition would be sent to the Body of Benchers, the Legal Practitioners Privileges Committee (LPPC) and the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee (LPDC) and other regulatory bodies in the legal profession to sanction the SSS for its action.
He called on the Federal Government, the Director-General of the SSS, the National Human Rights Commission, civil society, international community, the media and Nigerians to urgently prevail on the SSS Command in Akwa Ibom state to obey the valid and subsisting order of the High Court, and release Carter.