Many Nigerians and activists have screamed blue murder at the continued detention of Col. Sambo Dasuki, the former National Security Adviser to ex President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Ibrahim El-Zazzaky, the leader of the Shiites movement in Nigeria as well as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and Omoyele Sowore, a renowned human rights and anti-corruption activist and Publisher of the world famous Sahara Reporters.
The DSS spokesman Peter Afunnaya in a hilarious twist revealed that these three popular detainees opted to be held there out of their own personal volition and the DSS shouldn’t be seen as violating or disobeying court orders. In his words: “There has been outcry about alleged illegal detention of some notable persons undergoing trials at the courts and disobedience to court orders by the service.
“To put the records straight, the service wishes to draw public attention to the circumstances that warranted the custody of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in its facility,” it said.
DSS said: “For the avoidance of doubt, the duo had appealed to the courts to be left in the custody of the service instead of being taken to the correctional centres.
“Well-meaning Nigerians are equally witnesses to the case of Omoleye Sowore, who, on a similar order of the Court, was to be remanded at the Kuje or Suleja Centre, but preferred to be kept at the DSS.”
The secret police noted that “everyone, also, saw what eventually played out with El-Zakzaky, when he opted to be returned to the custody of the Service even as the court had granted him leave to seek medical care in India.
“These were choices these personalities made on their own volition. Since their stay, the service has continued to extend the best courtesies to them.”
Afunanya said the detainees were allowed access to people and use of other facilities like telephones, gymnasium, TV, newspapers and medical facilities.
He said their families and trusted persons bring them food of their choices on daily basis.
“There could not have been better treatments than these. Against the wrong perception that the service held these persons in defiance to court orders, it is obvious, by the above explanations, that they rather chose be looked after by the DSS.
“The reason for such choice is not farfetched. It is simply because the service’s holding facilities are good and within acceptable international standards.”
The DSS spokesman executed a successful coup here as he tried to become the clone of the German Joseph Goebbels in his information dissemination.
Why would anyone in his or her right senses chose to be in the DSS custody rather than reunite with their kith and kin?
The spokesman mentioned nothing of the court orders that mandated the government agency funded by tax payers money to release these three gentlemen on bail as they had met all the conditions. We recall that the Lead Counsel to Sowore and popular human rights activist, Chief Femi Falana SAN cried out a few weeks ago at the games the DSS were playing in refusing to release his client to him after the stringent bail conditions had been met. The DSS Spokesman latest release didn’t address the cry by Falana.
The history of the creation of secret service agencies dates back to the defunct Soviet Union era where the then dictator, Josef Stalin set up the KGB to arrest dissidents of his collectivization policy which seized the farmlands owned by the people and handed it over to the government. Stalin felt private ownership of land will be inimical to his agenda of food sufficiency for the union and preferred it to be government controlled. Opponents of this policy were rounded up, detained without trial and in many cases killed and buried in unmarked graves. It was the activities of the agency that led British writer, George Orwell to write his award winning book, ‘1984’ where the concept of the Big Brother State was espoused.
Nigeria seems to have returned to the dark days of the Big Brother State which held sway during the military rule. We recall with tears how Buhari in his first tenure dealt with the media through the infamous Decree 4 and the jailing of Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor of the Guardian newspapers.
The lack of respect for court orders by this administration is alarming and smirks of a return to the gory days of dictatorship. I honestly doubt if Buhari is truly a repented democrat as he once touted himself to be. You cannot be a democrat when you routinely flout court orders, make a huge mockery of the judiciary and disregard the rule of law.
We call on the DSS to unconditionally release the aforementioned three as they have long met their bail conditions. Keeping them in detention longer than necessary is a gross violation of their fundamental human right to freedom of movement which the 1999 constitution and the various human rights charters by the United Nations and African Union in which Nigeria is a signatory forbids.
Enough of executive impunity and lawlessness!
Tony Ademiluyi writes from Lagos and edits www.africanbard.com