Two suspected kidnappers from Delta State, Kelvin Ibruvwe Oniarah and Frank Azuekor, who were arrested on September 25 for their involvement in nefarious activities, have asked the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja to order their release.
The suspects, in a suit filed by their lawyer, Mr. Samuel Omohwo Esharefasa of Festus Keyamo Chambers, also asked the court to order their arrest and subsequent detention as illegal.
The respondents in the suit are the State Security Service (SSS), SSS director general and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
In an originating motion filed before the court and dated October 17, a copy of which was given to THISDAY yesterday, the applicants sought a declaration of the court that their arrest by the respondents, their agents, officers, representatives or otherwise was illegal and amounted to a breach of their fundamental rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
They also asked the court for an order directing the respondents, their agents, officers or representatives to immediately release them unconditionally as well as to pay them aggravated damages for their illegal arrest and continued detention.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Duke Oniarah Ibruvwe in support of the originating application, he averred that contrary to the claims of the respondents, the applicants were neither kidnappers nor armed robbers.
Rather, he said they were law-abiding and responsible citizens from Kokori Community in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, who were championing the cause of their community following the neglect the area had suffered as a result of being the host community to several flow stations and oil wells belonging to the Shell Petroleum Development Company and other multinational oil companies.
According to him, Oniarah and Azuekor, along with others, belong to the Liberation Movement of the Urhobo People (LIMUP), which was formed to agitate for the total emancipation of the entire Urhobo land from marginalisation and poverty.
He alleged that they were framed up for their agitation for better welfare for their people when they were arrested in Port Harcourt, where they had gone to honour an invitation by the Delta State Government for them to explain their purported involvement in the publication of the ultimatum to the federal government to carry out massive development in the oil-producing communities within Urhobo land or face the people's wrath.
The deponent said the applicants were not robbers neither were they kidnappers, adding that they are liberators and freedom fighters struggling for the improvement of the standard of living of their people.