In a 14-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Olowopopo, who drove the car that conveyed the applicants from Lagos to Oshogbo, alleged that the event occurred on August 8, 2014, about 9pm, while they were on their way to the Government House to meet with Governor Rauf Aregbesola to honour an appointment.
Lai Mohammed, Salisu Shuaibu, Sunday Dare and Ibrahim Olowopopo (applicants) have jointly instituted a “fundamental rights enforcement” suit before the Osun State High Court, accusing the DSS of political witch-hunting and victimisation.
They have slammed a N500 million suit against the DSS for their alleged arrest and detention by agents of the service during the just concluded governorship election in Osun State.
Specifically, the applicants alleged in the suit, which is expected to be formally filed by their counsel, M. A. Banire & Associates, on Monday, that one of the reasons they were arrested by the DSS as allegedly claimed by one of the officers who arrested them was because the APC publicity secretary “was in the habit of abusing President Goodluck Jonathan”.
Apart from seeking a N500 million compensation for the illegal and unconstitutional violations of their fundamental rights, the applicants also want the court to order the respondents to tender a public apology to them.
They are also praying the court for a declaration that their arrest and detention by officers of the respondent on August 8 and 9, 2014 was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and in violation of their fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
The applicants are further demanding a declaration that their arrest and manhandling by the respondent on days constituted a violation of their freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed by section 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
Some of the grounds on which the suit is based included: that the arrest, torture and inhuman treatment to which the applicants were subjected by officers of the respondent are definitely not approved by law as the applicants neither committed nor were they convicted of any offence to warrant such treatment by the respondent.
Also it states that the arrest, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment to which the applicants were subjected by the respondents were based on a frivolous allegation of loitering as later disclosed by the respondent’s spokesperson, Mrs Marilyn Ogar, in an interview on Channels television on Thursday, August 14, 2014, which offence is unknown to law.
The applicants also averred: “Some few metres away from the Government House situate at Oke-Fia when we observed some officers of the respondent with bold tags on their chests reading ‘DSS’ and some other persons trying to break into the premises of one Senator Bayo Salami who shared the same fence with the Government House…
“I noticed that the said officers of the respondent were shooting the gate of the house of the said Senator Bayo Salami but I was instructed by the first applicant to quickly drive by so as to avoid any trouble with the said officers of the respondent.
“Suddenly, the officers of the respondent whose names were covered jumped on the road and stopped the vehicle I was driving, ordered me to switch on the inner light of the vehicle which I promptly did.
“While they were interrogating me as to our destination and whether we had cash on us, one of the officers identified the first applicant (Lai Mohammed) as the national publicity secretary of All Progressives Congress and alleged that the first applicant was in the habit of abusing President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The said officers of the respondent ordered the first applicant to get down from the vehicle and suddenly put the nozzle of a gun to his head, ordered the second and third applicants to also disembark from the vehicle under the cover of a gun and moved them into a waiting Hilux van of the respondent.
“Some officers of the respondent immediately drove the first to third applicants away to the office of the respondent situate at Gbongan-Osogbo Road while other officers and some unidentified men in masks descended on the vehicle I was driving, searched it thoroughly and, when they could not find any cash except the little money on me which they promptly collected, they started beating me and later took me to the office of the respondent where I met the first to third defendants already in custody of the respondent.
“We were detained in the open air at the office of the respondent till the early hours of the next day.
“It was at the office of the respondent that we were all later released and we returned to the Government House at about 1am of the 9th day of August, 2014, with the first to third applicants thoroughly traumatized while I was quite scared to drive back to the Government House as the whole city of Osogbo was under siege imposed by heavily armed security officers who were seen brutalizing other road users at different places as we were going.
“Surprisingly on the 14th day of August, 2014, I was in my house in Lagos when I saw the spokesperson of the respondent, one Marilyn Ogar, on Sunrise programme of Channels television where she disclosed that the offence for which the first applicant, and a fortiori, all the applicants, were arrested, tortured and subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment was ‘loitering’.
“I know that unless sanctioned by this honourable court, the respondent will continue to indulge in such harassment, intimidation, detention, violation and crass impunity against other members of society and the applicants’ violated rights would be without remedies.”
Sheriff’s defection to PDP: APC plans nationwide thanksgiving
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Youth Forum is planning to organize a nationwide thanks giving with a special Sunday church service and Jumma’at prayers over the planned defection of former governor of Borno State Ali Modu Sheriff from the APC to the PDP.
According to Barrister Ismail Ahmed, the Forum’s chairman, Sheriff had on Friday confirmed his planned defection to the PDP when he told State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan that his movement to the PDP was in Nigeria’s best interest.
Barrister Ismaila Ahmed said the Forum received the news with so much joy as it considers his exit as the best thing that would ever happen to the life of the party, due to what it calls “strategic blackmail” of the APC by the PDP using Sheriff’s alleged links with the Boko Haram, regardless of whether Sheriff was guilty or not.
The Forum said “it has conducted very serious investigations about all the
games in trying to attach a bad name to the APC locally and internationally. We found out that the PDP uses sponsored commentators in Nigeria to link Sheriff with Boko Haram, rightly or wrongly, and because he was a chieftain of the APC, it was easy to sell that to Nigerians using the media.
The Forum recalled that the minister of information, Labaran Maku, and Femi Fani-Kayode recently said in public that Sheriff was behind Boko Haram and they openly used that to associate APC with Boko Haram.
The Forum further recalled that the PDP in Borno State had, as far as 2011, sent a delegation to media houses and alleged that Sheriff was responsible for the emergence of a violent Boko Haram attack after a certain deal he struck with their late leader to support his bid in 2003 to be governor, and, in return, Sheriff created a Ministry for Religious Affairs and made one of the Boko Haram’s major financial backbones, Buji Foi, as commissioner for religious affairs.
Sheriff, along the line, fell out with him, leading to the 2009 first major crisis, the Forum stated, pointing fingers over the order to kill Mohammed Yusuf whereas he was captured alive, and also to kill the former commissioner, Buji Foi, while he was also captured alive, all in an attempt to silence both Yusuf and Foi from revealing some information about their dealings to the public.
The Forum said: “Boko Haram went viral over the extra-judicial killings of their members to the extent that the crisis has taken a confusing dimension.
“But the PDP-led federal government deliberately refused to arrest Sheriff; instead, the FG blackmailed him into working against the ANPP then and thereafter planted him as a spy in APC where he was able to report every strategy of the APC to the PDP since, as a national leader of the party, he was privileged to attend strategic and highly sensitive meetings of the party. Most importantly also, the PDP and the federal government are in the habit of telling the international community that APC had links with Boko Haram and in each of their meetings with representatives of foreign countries and international institutions, the PDP and the FG cited Sheriff’s membership of the APC as basis of APC’s false link to Boko Haram.
“At a point, two months ago, some agents working to satisfy the PDP wanted the British parliament to move a motion in session seeking to probe APC’s alleged link with Boko Haram principally on the basis of Sheriff’s membership of APC
“By the time Sheriff leaves the APC, nobody will have any reason to further demonise the party locally or internationally. We had actually recommended his expulsion to the leadership of the party a while ago, if not for some people like the governor of his state and Alhaji Kashim Imam who intervened. We don’t want him one bit in APC.
“He was a big burden to us; we feel so relieved and this is why we will call on our members nationwide to attend special Sunday church service and jumma’at prayers to offer thanksgiving to God almighty for cleansing the APC. His exit is the best thing that ever happened to the APC since it came into being.
“The APC was not happy with the departure of Shekarau and Bafarawa but Sheriff… No, no, we wanted him out and we say thank God he has left us. Let him go far, far away with his controversial history and antecedents. We don’t want any Hitler-related past around us.”