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Unlawful Detention: Ekiti Assembly Drags DSS, Nigerian Government to Court

Ayodele Afolabi,  Abuja

The Ekiti State House of Assembly has said it has instructed its counsel to seek redress and damages over what it calls “the undemocratic, unpatriotic, dictatorial and brutish” incarceration of one of its members, Mr Afolabi Akanni, by the Department of State Services (DSS) for 18 days with neither explanation nor trial in court.

The House of Assembly, which condemned “strongly the illegal arrest, detention and dehumanization of Honourable Akanni” and demanded unreserved apology, made this disclosure on Wednesday at a press conference held at its chamber in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

Briefing journalists on Tuesday, the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Youths and Sports, Chief Olugboyega Aribisogan, said that the DSS did not contact any stakeholder to intimate them of the release of Akanni, adding that members of the House read the news, like every other Nigerians, online on Tuesday night.

“Up till this moment, we have not been told officially by the DSS whether or not Honourable Akanni was formally released from incarceration after spending 18 days without access to his doctors, lawyers and family members.

“However, preliminary information available to us suggests that Honourable Akanni may have been brought to the hospital by men of the DSS and abandoned there because they could no longer hold him in captivity because of his deteriorating health condition.

“Nigerians should be reminded that it took the rumour of Honourable Akanni’s death for the DSS to admit officially that it was holding him after spending 15 days in detention without access to anyone. As we speak, Honourable Akanni is in very critical condition and he has not been able to speak with anyone of us.

“We, therefore, demand an official explanation from the DSS as to why Honourable Akanni was abducted and held incommunicado for 18 days, only for us to be told that he was admitted in a private hospital in Abuja.

“Furthermore, we demand an explanation from the DSS whether in a democracy, it is part of its mandate to disobey court orders and dump Nigerians in detention for 18 days over unfounded allegations.

“Most importantly, we condemn strongly the DSS illegal arrest, detention and dehumanization of Honourable Akanni and we demand an unreserved apology forthwith.

“We have also directed our counsel to seek redress and damages in court, because, to us, this act of impunity by the DSS under President Muhammadu Buhari is undemocratic, unpatriotic, dictatorial and brutish,” Aribisogan said.

The House also alleged that the DSS had been going about sniffing about its members’ secondary school qualifications, adding, however, that they were not bothered about this.

The members said they wished to advise the DSS to pay attention to the growing insecurity in the country, instead of acting as an arm of the All Progressives Congress (APC) “to pursue the evil agenda of destabilizing the Ayo Fayose-led government,” adding that the Assembly members remained united and resolutely committed to the development of Ekiti State as being championed by Governor Fayose.

Speaker of the House, Right Honourable (Pastor) Kola Oluwawole, during a question and answer session with journalists, noted that it was wrong for anyone to have accused the state governor of lying when he raised the alarm that Honourable Akanni had died in DSS detention last week.

He said the information received by the government, as confirmed by Akanni himself when he was eventually shown on television, indicated that he had been so sick to the extent that he collapsed twice in a single day.

“For anyone who saw such a person slump and probably was not revived before the privilege of information was terminated, would it be wrong to say such a victim had died? The answer is no! Akanni did slump but lived, the outcome could have been otherwise,” he said.



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