The Department of State Services(DSS) has denied claims that they are illegally detaining some notable people facing trials in Nigeria.
The DSS in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, yesterday noted with specific reference to the detention of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky; and the convener of #RevolutionNow protest, Omoyele Sowore, the DSS said they chose to be detained in its facility as against going to a correctional facility.
Peter Afunnaya said, “To put the record straight, the service wishes to advert public attention to the circumstances that warranted the custody of Sambo Dasuki and Sheik Ibrahim in its facility.
The statement in full reads thus “For the avoidance of doubt, the duo appealed to the courts to be left in the custody of the service instead of being taken to the correctional centres.
“Well-meaning Nigerians are equally witnesses to the case of Omoyele Sowore, who on a similar order of the court, was to be remanded in the Kuje or Suleja Centre, but preferred to be kept at the DSS.
“Everyone also saw what eventually played out with El-Zakzaky, when he opted to be returned to the custody of the service even as the court had granted him leave to seek medical care in India. These were choices these personalities made of their own volition.”
The statement also said, “Since their stay, the service has continued to extend the best courtesies to them. They are allowed access to people and use of other facilities like telephones, gymnasium, TV, newspapers and medical facilities.
“Among others, their families and trusted persons bring them food of their choices on a daily basis. There could not have been better treatment than this.
“Against the wrong perception that the service held these people in defiance of court orders, it is obvious, by the above explanations, that they rather chose to be looked after by the DSS. The reason for such choice is not strange. It is simply because the service’s holding facilities are good and within acceptable international standards.”
Recall that Despite an Abuja High Court granting Sowore bail, the DSS has kept him in custody, claiming his sureties have yet to approach them to receive him.
Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka and other top Nigerians have condemned Sowore’s continued detention.