© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Sambo Dasuki being kept in a cell without toilet, says Jones Abiri
SAMBO Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (NSA) is being kept in a cell without a toilet facility, according to Jones Abiri, the Bayelsa State-based journalist that was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) in 2016 and kept in custody until 2018.
Abiri revealed this during an interview with Premium Times in which he narrated what he passed through during his over two-year detention. Abiri said he and his co-detainees at the time only saw Dasuki when he is being led out to ease himself, as his cell had no toilet.
He said Dasuki’s cell was much more spacious than the cell in which he was being held alongside 25 others because he is “a big fish”.
“I met Dasuki in there but not in the same cell. You know he is a big fish but where he is now; there is no toilet, so anytime he is pressed, they take him outside; so through that process we were able to see him,” Abiri said.
“There was a time I physically met him and shook hands, he was coming to ease himself, by then I was at the room up.”
Dasuki has been in detention since 2015 after he was arrested by the DSS for allegedly misappropriating $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms for the Nigeria Armed Forces. The DSS has consistently refused to honour several court orders for Dasuki to be released.
Abiri, however, said that his own cell, though smaller, had a toilet. He described the cell as an underground facility that had no proper ventilation. Their source of air was a small standing fan that was in the room.
“We were about 26 of us that were in the facility and the room is about 12 by 12 which is not up to some prominent Nigerian’s parlour,” he said.
“That was where we were being kept and though the ground was tiled, nothing was on top of the tiles for us to have a conducive environment. We demanded for cartons before they could even bring in the carton for us to use part of it to lay our heads.
“There was no proper ventilation since the facility was underground, there was no natural breeze coming into the room for you to have air to breathe but one standing fan was kept for the 26 suspects.”
Abiri also said he was tortured when he was first brought into the cell.
He narrated: “When I was arrested on the 21st of July and brought to their office, a state command in Yenagoa; my eyes were blindfolded and they asked me to stay glued to the wall. So I did that but did not know what was happening.
“The next thing I heard was something that struck on my back and I fell down. That is why my spinal cord, (pointing at his waist) this my waist; I cannot stand for a very long time. That is why I want to hurriedly go home to ensure that proper medication is administered before the next date of my trial.
“So I was tortured and through that torturing, they were able to achieve their aim. I told them that I am not a militant because of a story that I wrote.
“I was against the governor, most especially Bayelsa governor and the federal government. Some of the stories that were published in my newspaper were ‘antagonistic’ and many of them were investigated before it was published and some were gotten online.”
Abiri corroborated what former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, told the ICIR on Thursday, that several hundreds of people are still being held in DSS custody, many of them have spent two years and above without being charged to court, and without their family members knowing their whereabouts.
“There are people with ordeals that have been there for the past 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years without trial,” Abiri said.
“The whole story has been made public, if the DSS is denying what I am saying, they should allow human right bodies and other NGOs, the media to visit their facility, and personally interview and find out one or two things about those suspects that they have arrested. They would narrate their ordeals.”
Abiri said he saw his wife and children for the first time since July 2016 when some journalists brought them to see him in Kuje prison in August this year after the DSS eventually charged him to court and he was remanded.