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Falana writes new DSS DG, asks him to release detained journalist, Zakzaky, others
FEMI Falana, human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) has asked the new director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mathew Seiyefa, to restore the lost glory of the agency by correcting the abuses and excesses that characterised the tenure of its former head, Lawal Daura.
Falana urged Seiyefa to release individuals that are being illegally detained by the service, such as Ibrhim El-Zakzaky, Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, also known as Shiite Muslims, as well as discontinue frivolous court cases against Jones Abiri, a Bayelsa State-based journalist, and others.
Seiyefa had in his maiden press conference promised to re-position the DSS in accordance with international best practices so as to change the wrong notion that majority of the citizens have about the service. He also promised to review reports of illegal detention and torture allegedly carried out by Daura.
“In view of your commitment to review the cases of all detainees in the custody of the SSS,” Falana wrote, “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.”
Falana described the sacked DSS DG, Lawal Daura, as a “power drunk” man who enjoyed “flouting court orders, harassing judges and lawyers who challenged him.”
Daura was removed from office on Tuesday by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo following the blockade of the National Assembly by men of the DSS.
The presidency said the action of the DSS was reckless and unconstitutional, and that Daura acted without authorisation.