The South East Revival Group (SERG) has called on the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately order the Department of State Services (DSS) to free the Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah.
While strongly condemning his arrest and continued incarceration by the Service, the group in a statement signed its Convener and National Coordinator, Chief Willy Ezugwu, described what transpired between Capital Oil and NNPC as purely commercial transaction that is being needlessly criminalized.
Parts of the statement read: “There is no reason why Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah should be humiliated in a purely commercial dispute.
“The DSS claimed that he was arrested and detained over his refusal to remit N11 billion realized from sales of petroleum products stored in his facility by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and that he was engaging in acts inimical to national security and inciting members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union to stop lifting petroleum products so as to cripple the economy and cause untold hardship to Nigerians.
“For the record, Ifeanyi Ubah’s Capital Oil has storage facilities for over 40 percent of Nigeria’s daily fuel consumption.
“So, it is laughable for the DSS to accuse Dr. Ubah of engaging in acts inimical to national security and inciting members of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Union to stop lifting petroleum products so as to cripple the economy and cause untold hardship to Nigerians when the same man assisted the present government to end fuel scarcity and economic sabotage less than two years ago.
“If Ifeanyi Ubah single handedly ended the fuel scarcity that was inherited by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration before the government removed petrol subsidy, it is even more comical to accuse him of inciting tanker drivers’ union to stop lifting petroleum products.
“Ifeanyi Ubah has shown patriotism and love for the suffering masses of the country by his several interventions that brought petroleum products scarcity to an end.
“We are all living witnesses that at different critical times, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah intervened to end scarcity of Kerosene, especially in the Northern parts of the country.
“How else can a man show patriotism to his fatherland?
“What the DSS should know is that Nigeria is under democracy and the fundamental human rights of all citizens to freedom of association and movement must be guaranteed at all time.
“If the DSS believes that Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah committed any crime against the State, he should be charged to court forthwith. The DSS cannot be a Judge in its own case.
“We have not forgotten how the DSS invaded the residents of some Judges and made several allegations it could not prove in court.
“Why is the DSS detaining Ifeanyi Ubah indefinitely in a purely commercial dispute between two legal entities?
“It is unlawful for the DSS to hold Ifeanyi Ubah in its custody since May 5, 2017 despite an order to produce him in court.
“In the first place, the commercial dispute is between Capital Oil and Gas Limited and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which is needless criminalizing when the two companies have records that can be easily reconciled.
“The oil merchant, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, has insisted that the NNPC is indebted to his company to the tune of sixteen billion naira (N16 billion), while the DSS is claiming that Ubah’s company owes NNPC eleven billion naira (N11 billion).
“It is a question of looking into the records and getting the claims and counter claims reconciled amicably.
“We therefore cabal on Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to immediately order Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah’s unconditional release as his continued detention without trial is making us a laughing stock among the comity of nations.
“It is even worse when the DSS refused to produce the accused person in court”, the SERG stated.
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