A trader, Anthony Okolie, who was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and detained for 10 weeks, has sued the security agency for N500m.
Okolie, in a suit filed before the Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, by his lawyer, Tope Akinyode, also demanded N500m from Hanan Buhari, the daughter of the President, Major General Muhammadu (retd.), as well as a telecommunications company, MTN.
The suit, with number FHC/ASB/CS/3/2020, is seeking an order to “compel the respondents (DSS, Hanan and MTN) jointly or severally to pay the applicant the sum of N500,000,000 only as general and aggravated damages for the gross and unlawful violation of the applicant’s right to acquire moveable properties, freedom of movement and self dignity.”
The 33-year-old man said in a supporting affidavit that he was arrested on July 19, 2019, in Asaba, Delta State, for using a telephone line that was previously owned by Hanan.
According to him, he remained in custody, bound by handcuffs, till September 22, 2019, as the DSS waited for Hanan, who was schooling in the United Kingdom, to come and clear him but she never did.
Okolie also attached the receipt he was issued after purchasing the SIM card as well as the SIM certificate.
The affidavit read in part, “That on December 8, 2019, at Ogbeogonogo Market, Nebu Road, Asaba, Delta State, I purchased a SIM card with Phone Number, 09035666662, for the sum of N1,000 only and I received a SIM pack with accompanying documents as a result as evidence of purchase receipt.
“That in line with relevant regulations, I approached a kit operator of the 3rd respondent (MTN) named Jeff, who captured my biometric and registered the SIM card in my name and on my behalf.
“That in July, 2019, I visited my business associate at his residence in Asaba and saw him being taken away by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS). During the process, they obtained information from him on who he communicated with last over the phone and my associated announced that it was me.
“That immediately afterwards, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) arrested me and led me to their vehicle, asking me to keep quiet and drove me to their offices in Asaba, Delta, State.
“That after a while, they disclosed that my arrest was ordered by the Presidency and I had to be taken to Abuja for further interrogation on which basis they drove me to Abuja by road the following day.”
The applicant stated that he explained to the DSS how he bought the SIM card but he was informed that the phone line, which was linked to his SIM card, was once used by Hanan.
“They thereafter labelled me a criminal for using a phone line that previously belonged to the 2nd respondent,” he said.
Okolie alleged that because of the personality involved, his case file was tagged, ‘First Family’ and he was denied access to his lawyers.
The trader claimed that his mother, who was not allowed to see him, developed high blood pressure while he lost a N5m business deal.
He added, “They also disclosed to me that the President wants to see me and my case was boldly earmarked, First Family. Based on the foregoing, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) maintained that the 2nd respondent (Hanan) must be available to clarify her allegations against me before I was allowed freedom from their facilities.
“That the 2nd respondent (Hanan) was contacted several times by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) but the 2nd respondent (Hanan) declined making herself available by claiming that she was busy with studies in the United Kingdom.”
Okolie asked the court to declare that his long detention was an abuse of his fundamental human rights.
He asked the court to declare that the actions of the DSS contravened sections 35 and 34 of the 1999 Constitution. (Punch)
AfDB Approves Independent Probe Of Adesina
The Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has finally bowed to US pressure and has ordered an independent probe of President of the bank Akinwumi Adesina.
The board of governors reached the decision on Thursday June 4, in spite of sitting and former African leaders’ campaign for the bank to ignore the call for an independent investigation of allegations against Adesina as he has already been cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.
In a communique signed by the Chairperson of the bank’s Bureau of the Boards of Governors Niale Kaba, it was gathered that the independent review will be carried out by a neutral high calibre individuals with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum.
The board also admitted that the ethics committee performed its role on the matter in accordance with the applicable role under resolution B/BG/2008/11.
It reads: “The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.
“The Bureau also reiterates that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board ofGovernors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.
“However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.
“The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.
“The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.”
Reps Reject Castration As Punishment For Rapists
The House of Representatives has rejected the recommendation for castration of rapists.
The Nation reports that the reps voted against a prayer seeking to recommend castration for rapists at the plenary on Thursday, considered and adopted a motion on the rising cases of sexual violence in Nigeria.
A member of the house, Mr James Faleke, had recommended that persons found guilty of rape should be castrated.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, however, asked what would happen to an older female who rapes a younger male, just before the prayer was subjected to a voice vote.
The House of Representative put the prayer to vote and it was rejected by the majority.
Ogoni: We’ve Started Clean-up At 57 Sites — FG
The Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, says no fewer than 57 sites at Ogoni land in Rivers are being cleaned up currently.
Abubakar made the disclosure while speaking with State House correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja, saying that he had presented a report on the ministry’s mandate to a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The virtual meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Ogoni cleanup in the past has been a story. Finally, President Buhari came in 2016 and the contract was given out.
“We are currently cleaning 21 plus 36 sites in Ogoni land. All these are impacted areas with hydrocarbon — a very big project.
“The world is watching this project because of the nature of hydrocarbons and what they can cause to the environment and the people living there.’’
The minister said that planting of 25 million trees was also in the fore burner and that the ministry was collaborating with state governments on the project.
Abubakar said that the Federal Ministry of Environment was one of the implanting ministries of the 774, 000 jobs approved by the president.
“So, those skilled and unskilled labours are coming through the ministry. About 200, 000 people will be employed plus additional 2,000, who are going to be employed by the erosion department of the ministry.’’
He said that the ministry was also handling waste recycling, describing waste management as a big project.
Abubakar said that waste management entailed waste reduction, waste recycling, waste re-use and waste recovery, among others.
According to him, it is no longer fashionable to produce, use and dispose waste.
The minister said that his report to FEC also covered efforts being made on erosion control in the South East and the upper North areas of the country.
“We have two programmes on erosion control. One is being handled by the department in the ministry of environment, which is in charge of mostly conventional erosion.
“Then, we have the big one which is being sponsored by the World Bank and we call that Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project.
“The project deals with gully erosion — huge erosion that will gulp houses and you know South-East is prone to this type of erosion because of the geologic nature of the area.’’
On job creation, the minister said that the Ogoni cleanup had created 765 jobs, adding that more jobs would be created through the cleanup.
He said that a programme on training of 400 women in agriculture, aquaculture and poultry was also underway.
“We have the National Generator Emission Control Programme that will be coming on line.
“These are jobs that will be crated immediately after COVID-19,’’ said the minister.
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