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Amigo Supermarket Owners Sues FG For N50bn For Unlawful Detention

June 11, 2013

The Federal Government of Nigeria has been dragged to court over the sealing of the Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja following the busting of an underground bunker and the Hezbollan terror cell in Kano.

A suit filed against the Federal Government by Mustapha Fawaz and his three Lebanese partners, Abdalah Tahini, Talal Rouda and Khosai Nouridine, who are the joint-owners of Amigo Supermarket, Abuja is currently at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The plaintiffs are demanding a whopping N50 billion as compensation from the Federal Government over their arrest and detention following the uncovering of the arms cache and the Hezbollah terror cell in Kano as well as the sealing of their business in Abuja.

Listed as respondents in the suit are the State Security Service (SSS), its Director General, Ekpeyong Ita and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN).

The plaintiffs are also praying that the court should stop the respondents from extraditing them except by a procedure permitted by law.

They prayed the court of an order directing their release and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, agents, servants, officers, and or proxies or whomsoever, howsoever from arresting or detaining or continuing to detain them except by a procedure permitted by law.

It will be recalled that few days after the arrest of the suspects in Kano, the SSS sealed Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja.

The applicants are however asking the court to declare that the action “was arbitrary and a wanton violation of the right of Fawaz to own property and participate in the minor sector of the economy as guaranteed respectively by Sections 44 and 16(1) of the 1999 Constitution and African Charter on Human and Peoples’ rights”.

They therefore sought for an order directing the respondents and their agents and servants to re-open the Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park with immediate effect.

They are also demanding a public apology by the respondents in three widely-circulating newspapers for the violation of their rights.

Their counsel, Bamidele Aturu, had , in a letter to the SSS, complained that his clients had been detained without trial by the SSS in violation of the Constitution.

He also asked that they be allowed access to lawyers, members of their families and doctors within 48 hours “in accordance with their undoubted rights under both Nigerian and international law”.

But in an affidavit in support of the suit, Ali Thini who is a younger brother to Tahini stated that the SSS had ignored the letter, as he disclosed that Fawaz was arrested in Abuja at about 4 am on May 10; Tahini arrested on May 11 while Rouda and Nouridine were arrested on or about May 28 in Kano.

He disclosed further that the respondents and their officers had sealed Amigo Supermarket and Wonderland Amusement Park in Abuja since May 31 while some staff and customers “were seen driven away by security operatives”.

According to Ali Thini , “The applicants have been held incommunicado since their arrest and have not been allowed to see their lawyers, doctors or any member of their families. The applicants have not been charged with any offence before any court of law in Nigeria. Unless this application is granted, the rights of the applicants will continue to be wantonly violated.”

He added that it is in the interest of justice that his application be granted by the court.

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