The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday rejected the application for bail filed by Yusuf Abdulwahab, the Chief of Staff to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State.
Abdulawahab is, among other suspects, held in Police custody in Abuja in connection with the April 5, 2018 bank robbery incident in Offa, Kwara State.
The Police confirmed that 33 persons, including pregnant women, and nine Police officers died in the incident, which drew public outrage.
Ruling on Thursday on the bail application by Abdulwahab, Justice Babatunde Quadri rejected it on the grounds that the subject matter of the case was outside the jurisdiction of his court.
The judge then ordered the transfer of the case to the High Court of Kwara State, which he said had the requisite jurisdiction to hear and determine the case.
Abdulwahab had earlier commenced the suit via an ex parte motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/624/18, praying for an order granting him bail from police custody.
But the judge rejected the ex parte motion, and chose to direct the applicant to serve the respondent, who is the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to show cause why the prayer sought in the application should not be granted.
However, earlier before the court gave its ruling on Thursday, Abdulwahab’s lawyer, Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), informed the judge that despite being served with the motion as ordered by the court, the IGP refused to respond.
Contending that Abdulwahab was being held by the Police unjustly, Adelodun said his Kwara State-based client only honoured a Police invitation in the state in relation to his alleged link with suspects who carried out the Offa bank robbery, when he was arrested and taken to Abuja.
Adelodun said the Kwara State governor’s senior aide had since been in detention without charge.
But, in response, Justice Quadri queried if his court had the subject-matter jurisdiction to hear and grant the application.
While confirming that the court was clothed with the requisite jurisdiction, Adelodun argued that the Federal High Court in Abuja had the subject-matter jurisdiction to hear the case since the alleged infraction of his client’s right to liberty through his continued detention occurred in Abuja.
But the judge declined to grant the application and transferred it to Kwara State High Court for hearing and determination.