Court orders release of Nigerian man
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the immediate release of a Nigerian man who was detained by the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).
Forty-two-year-old Sunday Egbe was taken into custody by PICA on May 21 and was being kept at the Horizon Remand Centre.
His attorney, Melrose Reid, applied for an order for his release, arguing that he was being unlawfully detained by PICA.
She contended that when her client was detained, he was informed that PICA was awaiting a deportation order from the minister of national security.
Reid argued that PICA had no power to arrest or detain a Commonwealth citizen.
She further argued that PICA had no power to requisition the minister of national security for deportation of a Commonwealth citizen.
The attorney contended that under the law, only a police constable could arrest or detain a Commonwealth citizen and that such a person must be taken before a Resident Magistrate's Court for a magistrate to determine if a removal order should be made.
Justice Glen Brown upheld the submissions and ordered that Egbe be released into the custody of a prominent Nigerian citizen until proper proceedings are done for the matter to be brought before a Resident Magistrate's Court.
It is reported that the Nigerian man came to Jamaica in 2010 after communicating with a Jamaican woman via social media since 2008.
It is further reported that they got married in November 2010 and the man later applied for and received a work permit exemption certificate from the Ministry of Labour.
In August 2011, the couple went to PICA to have his exemption status extended for him to remain in Jamaica until sometime in 2014.
According to Egbe, he did not hear back from PICA until December 2011 when he was informed that his stay in Jamaica would not be extended because his marriage was one of convenience.
He was given seven days in which to appeal to the national security minister, which Egbe said he did.
According to him, he did not get a reply from the minister.
In December 2012, Egbe took the national security minister and PICA to court, seeking an order for him to remain in the country.
The matter was finally set for hearing on December 17, 2013, but on December 12, the national security minister refused his appeal and referred the matter back to PICA.
Egbe said he did not hear back from PICA until May 21 this year when he was arrested and told that he would be deported.
At the time of his arrest, Egbe was working as a security guard and was a student at the Caribbean Maritime Institute, pursuing a degree in security management.