By Adedayo Akinwale
Counsel in Ricky Tarfa & Co, Mr. Rilwan Idris, has demanded the immediate release of 26 members of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), North-west Chapter arrested on 9th of March by the Department of State Security (DSS).
Idris, who is the Solicitor to the members of Bureau De Change Operators, stated this while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
He noted that those allegedly arrested by DSS were: Adamu Naim, Inuwa Danladi, Muhammad Yayaha, Yahaya Ibrahim, Muhammad Adam, Sadi Abdullahi, Surajo Muhammad, Auwalu Faggge, Nura Tasiu, Muhammad Sani, Muhammad Lawan, Bashir Ali, Abdullahi Usman, Hassan Idris, Nura Gani, Babangida Ali, Abubakar Yellow, Baba Usaini, Sani Maiwaya, Abdulrahman Kokawa, Garzali Yusuf, Ibrahim Shani, Auwalu Ali, Munzali Ali, Mallam Abdulazeez and Auwalu Gambo.
According to him, “If we didn’t get a response from DSS, by Friday we will charge DSS to court. If the DSS by Thursday refuses to honour our letter, we have no option than to go to court to enforce their rights.”
Idris explained that his clients were invited for questioning by DSS from their respective bases in Kano, Yola, Sokoto, Minna, and Lagos to the office of the DSS in Abuja on the 9th of March, 2021, 12th of March, 2021 and 16th of March, 2021 respectively snd they honoured the invitation as law abiding citizens.
He noted that they were further briefed by the family members of their clients that since the dates they were invited and reported for questioning at DSS, they had not been heard from again.
Idris pointed out that none of their family members had access to them, while some of the arrested individuals have underlying health challenges which require regular medical attention which they have not had access to since their arrests and detention.
He stressed that their continued detention without arraigning them before a Court of competent jurisdiction for an offence known to law was a clear breach and violation of their fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the constitution.
Idris stated: “We know as a fact that none of our clients who have been arrested by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) have been charged to Court for any offence neither have the people and family members who have made inquiry about them been informed if they have been or will be charged to Court for any offence known to law.
“We therefore demand the immediate release of all our clients in your custody. This is without prejudice to the investigation that is being conducted by your establishment with respect to whatever reason they were arrested for.”
Idris said while he is not unmindful that the law empowers certain security agencies to investigate certain offences where an individual, body or organisation may be found wanting, the same law provides for the way and manner such investigation should be carried out and conducted (within the ambit of the law.
He stated that the fact of their continued detention for about two weeks now without being charged to court or released on administrative bail was a negation of the extant provisions of Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.