DSS releases Ogun cleric suspected of being involved in terror activities
The Department of State Services on Monday released an Ogun State-based Islamic cleric, Abdul-Ganiy Ibrahim, arrested 429 days ago on the suspicion of being involved in terror activities.
The cleric, and his then pregnant wife, Muinat, had been reportedly whisked away from their Ijoko, Ogun State home around 3am on July 5, 2014 by unidentified gunmen.
After searching for about four months, the family, later traced the couple to the DSS office in Abeokuta, from where Muinat was released.
Ibrahim’s release on Monday by the DSS was in compliance with the June 18, 2015 order of a Federal High Court in Abeokuta, which faulted the cleric’s continued detention without being charged before a court of competent jurisdiction.
A human rights lawyer, Ahmed Adetola-Kazeem, had taken the case up on pro bono following a Saturday Punch’s report on October 25, 2014.
He had contended that the arrest and continued detention of the cleric by the DSS without disclosing his alleged offence or charging him to court was a violation of his fundamental human rights to dignity of person, personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by sections 34, 35 and 41 of the constitution.
Apart from ordering his immediate release, the judge held that Ibrahim was entitled to a public apology from the DSS, in addition to compensation for damages in the sum of N1m.
“The 1st applicant is entitled to the grant of general damages in accordance with Section 36 (5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,(as amended) for the abuse of his fundamental rights by the respondents’ unlawful detention and this court accordingly awards the sum of N1m to be paid by the respondents to the 1st applicant,” the judge had held.
However, more than two months after the judgment, the lawyer had lamented that all efforts to get the DSS and its DG, Lawal Daura, joined as the first and second respondents in the suit, to comply had been unproductive.
He added that his efforts to set eyes on Ibrahim had also not yielded any result, particularly expressing worry over the inability of DSS operatives to tell where exactly Ibrahim was being kept.
He had subsequently commenced contempt proceedings against the respondents, which was also reported byThe Punch on August 24, 2015.
The lawyer called on the government to pay attention to the issue of human rights abuse even as it strives to win the war against Boko Haram.