DSS Says It Is Holding Ex-Benue Governor Lawfully

Former Governr of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam
Former Governr of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam

The Department of State Services, DSS, has said that it will continue to hold former Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, in custody despite an order by the federal high court Abuja directing them to release him.

Justic Gabriel Kolawole, who is presiding over a corruption case brought against Suswam by the federal government, on Tuesday, ordered the DSS to release the former governor so that he could be arraigned in court on the next adjourned date which is May 11.

“Prosecution shall effect service on the legal department of the DSS, which in turn shall produce the first defendant in court, except if he has been released on administrative bail,” Kolawole had ruled.

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But in a statement made available to journalists by Tony Opuiyo on Wednesday, the DSS said that Suswam’s continued detention for over a month was legal as the Service has a warrant to that effect.

The statement also accused Suswam of failing to cooperate with investigators.

It read: “The case of former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, is typical.

“The Service has continued to hold him in line with the dictates of the law – more so that he has not cooperated on the issues concerning the recovery of large cache of arms at his facilities.”

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Recall that Suswam was first arrested on February 26, 2017, on allegations of fraud and illegal possession of arms.

According to the DSS items recovered from the former governor’s property in Abuja included: “Glock pistol with two magazines and a total of 29 rounds of ammunition.”

Others include: “Mini-Uzi with two magazines containing 10 rounds and four rounds respectively; forty-two (42) extra rounds of ammunition contained in a pack; and one AK-47 rifle.

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Also “Twenty-one Certificates of Occupancy (C of O) and one (1) Offer of Statutory Right of Occupancy; 23 luxury designer watches; and 45 keys to various exotic cars” were said to have been recovered from the property.

In the statement on Wednesday, the DSS said it had “valid detention warrants” to keep Suswam in custody, adding that “he will be charged accordingly, once the investigations are concluded.”