Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A group known as the National Council of Tiv Youths has asked the Department of State Service (DSS) to immediately release a former Benue State Governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, from the detention or charge him to court without any further delay.
Recall that Suwsam was, last Tuesday, invited by the DSS, in Abuja, and on honouring the invitation, he was subsequently arrested and detained allegedly in connection with the killings in Benue.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Chief John Akperashi, urged the DSS to either release the former governor or charge him to court without any further delay instead of keeping him in incarceration without trial.
The group also appealed to the paramount ruler of the Tiv nation, HRM, Prof. James Ayatse, to muster all powers and influence vestedin him on behalf of the Tiv race to ensure that no harm befalls Suswam as a Tiv son.
According to the group, “As you may be aware, Rt. Hon. Suswam was invited by the DSS to their headquarters in Abuja last Tuesday and, as a law-abiding citizen, he had honoured the invitation, but has since then been detained by the security agency there, and to this day they have not stated why they are holding him in their custody, neither have they charged him before any court of law.
“While this is clearly a violation of his fundamental rights as a free citizen of Nigeria entitled to justice under the laws of the country, there is more to fear from the fact that this is coming on the heels of series of alarm raised quite recently by notable figures in the country suggesting a possible plot by the government of the day to arrest key opposition leaders and have them put away on trumped up charges as we approach the 2019 elections.”
Akperashi who disclosed that the group’s planned peaceful protest on Monday was botched by a combined team of security operatives who besieged the take off venue for the protest in seven trucks said when he approached the team, they told him they were obeying order from above.
He urged the state Governor, Samuel Ortom not to fear, “the agitations of the body which in this particular instance is calling for the release of Rt. Hon. Suswam by the DSS, or that they should charge him to court instead of keeping him in perpetual detention without trial.
“We are law-abiding Benue citizens of Tiv extraction desirous of the peace and progress of our land, and our agitations in this regard are genuine, peaceful and being made conscious of the negative impact that Suswam’s continued incarceration will have on Tiv unity and collective strength.
“We call on the governor, and indeed, all Tiv sons and daughters, of all status, to be mindful that for us to survive as a race, we must stand together in the face of the grave security challenges confronting us as a people presently,” he said.