From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), North West Chapter, has asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to either release its over 26 members in its custody or charge them to court, decrying that their continuing detention is a breach of their fundamental human rights.
ABCON Counsel Barrister Rilwan Idris, who addressed newsmen in Abuja, accused the DSS of illegally detaining the operators for more than two weeks after they honoured its invitation.
According to Idris, those detained include: Adamu Ibrahim Naim, Inuwa Talle Danladi, Muhammad Yahaya, Yahaya Saidu Ibrahim, Muhammad Aliyu Adam Sadi Saidu Abdullahi, Surajo Adam Muhammad, Auwalu, Ibrahim Fagge, Nura Tasiu Mohammed Lawal Sani Hassan Idris, Nura Gani, Babaginda Ali, Abubakar Yellow, Baba Usaini, Sani Maiwaya and Auwalu Ali.
Others are Abdulrahman Kokawa, Garzali Yusuf, Ibrahim Shani Munzali Ali Mallam Abdulazeez, and Auwalu Gambo.
On how he knew that the people were arrested, he said: ‘We were briefed by family members of our clients as well as the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), North West Chapter that the people who are staff and whose names are subscribed above were invited for questioning by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) from their respective bases in Kano, Yola Sokoto, Minna, and Lagos to the office of the DSS in Abuja on the 9th of March, 2021, 12th of March 2021 and 16th of March 2021, respectively, which invitation they honored as law-abiding citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’
Part of the letter Idris’ firm, Rickey Tarfa & Co had written to DSS dated Monday, 22nd March, 2021, which was made available to journalists read: ‘The continuous detention of our clients without arraigning them before a court of competent jurisdiction for an offence known to law is a clear breach and violation of their fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
‘The Apex Court of Nigeria has in a plethora of decided cases frowned at the continued detention of citizens of this country unlawfully by security agents and their agencies without due recourse to the court and in violation of extant provisions of the constitution.
‘We, therefore, demand the immediate release of all our clients in your custody. This is without prejudice to the investigation that is being conducted by your establishment with respect to whatever reason they were arrested for.
‘We are not unmindful of that though the law empowers certain security agencies to investigate certain offences where an individual, body or organisation may be found wanting, the same law provides for the way and manner such investigation should be carried out and conducted.
‘The fact of thier continued detention for about two weeks now without being charged to court or release on administrative bail is a negation of the extant provisions of Section 35 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).’