Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has asked Mathew Seiyefa, acting director-general of the Department of State Service (DSS), to release Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and Jones Abiri, a journalist based in Yenagoa, state.
In a letter to Seiyefa, the lawyer asked the DSS DG to restore the “lost glory” of the service by restricting the management and staff of the organisation to the prevention and detection of any crime against the internal security of the country.
Falana accused Lawal Daura, sacked former director-general of the organisation, of being power drunk, flouting court orders, harassing judges and lawyers who challenged him.
The letter reads in part, “On account of corruption and abuse of office which characterised the tenure of Mr. Daura, the SSS took over many criminal cases that were being investigated by other security and anti graft agencies. Thus, by compromising such criminal cases he exposed the anti corruption policy of the Buhari administration to ridicule. Indeed, a number of the suspects in the custody of the SSS have been held incommunicado for about 3 years in contravention of section 6 (2) (c) of the administration of Criminal Justice Act which has imposed a duty on all detaining authorities in Nigeria to notify the next of kin or relative of every suspect of the arrest at no cost to the suspect.
“Two of the victims of such prolonged incarceration are Mr. Jones Abiri, a journalist and Mr. Peter Collins Opume, an undergraduate of the Niger Delta Delta University, Yenogoa, Bayelsa State. Both citizens have been detained in the SSS dungeon at Abuja for over two years without trial.
“In view of your commitment to review the cases of all detainees in the custody of the SSS, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to implement the following recommendations:
“Discontinue the frivolous charge pending against Jones Abiri and Peter Collins Opume at the Wuse Magistrate Court;
“Release the hundreds of detainees that are languishing without trial in the various detention centres of the SSS;
“Release Dasuki and other criminal suspects who have been admitted to bail by municipal and regional courts;
“Release Ibraheem Elzakzaky and Hajia Zeinab Elzakzaky 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 arrest;
“Draw the attention of all SSS investigators to the Anti-Torture Act of 2017 which has criminalized the use of torture in all security agencies;
“Ensure that all detention facilities of the SSS 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.”