Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has called on the acting Director-General of the Department of State Services, Matthew Seiyefa, to immediately release all illegally detained suspects which he claimed to be over 100.
Falana said this in a letter addressed to the new DSS boss on Sunday.
The activist, therefore, advised Seiyefa to see his appointment as an opportunity to purge the DSS of the rot that characterised the Lawal Daura era.
Falana recalled that Daura blatantly ignored court orders and even went as far as arresting judges who he could not cow into submission.
He said, “Apart from not obtaining orders from magistrate courts for the remand of suspects in line with section 293 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Mr Daura treated the orders of several courts for the release of detainees with contempt.
“He became so power-drunk that he harassed judges and lawyers who challenged his penchant for subverting the rule of law. At a stage, we had to remind him that the brutal military dictators who trained minions like him did not succeed in cowing us into submission when we were fighting for the restoration of democratic rule in the country.”
The senior advocate noted that a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.); the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife Zeinab, as well as a journalist, Jones Abiri, were unjustly detained for years by Daura.
He said in the case of El-Zakzaky, Daura refused to allow him to get medical treatment abroad despite the fact that he had sustained an eye injury when he was being manhandled by soldiers.
Falana lamented that while Daura carried out his duties with total disregard for human rights, none of his superiors could caution him.
He called on the new DSS boss to refocus the agency such that it would stop usurping the powers of the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other agencies of government.
Falana asked the new DSS boss to discontinue the charges pending against Abiri and Peter Opume at the Wuse Magistrate Court; release the hundreds of detainees that are languishing without trial in the various detention centres of the DSS and release Col. Dasuki and other criminal suspects who had been admitted to bail by municipal and regional courts.
He added, “Release Sheik El-Zakzaky and his wife from illegal custody in line with the orders of the Federal High Court; respect the rights of suspects to consult legal practitioners of their choice before making, endorsing or writing any statement or answering any question put to them after the arrest.
“Draw the attention of all DSS investigators to the Anti-Torture Act of 2017 which has criminalised the use of torture in all security agencies; ensure that all detention facilities of the DSS are inspected monthly by the visiting Judge of the Federal High Court in accordance with the provision of section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”
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