Alleged pro-IPOB comments: Businessman arrested while travelling to see pregnant wife sues DSS 

September 3, 2021
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Alleged pro-IPOB comments: Businessman arrested while travelling to see pregnant wife sues DSS 

Posted by News Express | 2 September 2021 | 255 times

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By IFEDAYO OGUNYEMI

A Lagos-based businessman, Emeka Ngornadi, has sued the Department of State Services (DSS) following his “illegal arrest” by DSS operatives over comments he allegedly made about the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on social media.

The fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by his lead counsel, Festus Ogun, on Wednesday, September 1, 2021, has the DSS and its Director-General, Yusuf Bichi as the first and second respondents respectively.

In the suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/994/2021 filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja, Ngornadi is seeking relief that his arrest and detention without probable cause since April is unjustified.

Ogun, in the suit, said the arrest and detention is a gross violation of Ngornadi’s right to personal liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed by section 35(1) and 41 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as well as Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act. Cap A9 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

According to the suit, Ngornadi is seeking a declaration that his physical and mental torture and degradation by DSS is cruel punishment prohibited under Section 34(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9 LFN 2004.

While praying the court to order his release from DSS custody, Ngornadi is also seeking the payment of N10 million in general damages against DSS for the violation of his constitutional rights.

The reliefs sought in the suit include: “A declaration that the 1st respondent request for a letter approved by the 2nd respondent as a precondition before the applicant can access to his lawyer (Festus Ogun) is unconstitutional and a gross violation of his fundamental right as guaranteed under Section 35(2) of The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

“An order of this Honorable Court directing the 1st Respondents and 2nd Respondents to immediately and unconditionally release the Applicant.

“An injunction restraining the respondents whether by themselves, their servants, agents, officers or otherwise howsoever from further arresting and detaining the applicant and constituting a threat or hindrance to the applicant’s life, property and investments and business in any manner whatsoever.

“The sum of N10, 000,000.00 (ten million naira) only, payable by the respondents jointly and severally to the applicant as general damages against the respondents for the violation of the applicant’s constitutional rights.

“And for such further order or other orders as this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

Tribune Online reports that Ngornadi, a businessman who deals in the importation and sale of electronic appliances in Lagos and Anambra States was arrested in Ore, Ondo State by on April 10, 2021, DSS officers.

He was travelling to Anambra with baby food items and other provisions to see his heavily pregnant wife before he was intercepted and arrested by DSS officers.

According to an affidavit deposed before the Commissioner for Oaths, Federal High Court Abuja, a close family friend of the applicant, Manasseh Paul Ben, claimed Ngornadi was detained DSS for about one month in Lagos before he was transferred to Abuja where he is being currently detained.

Manasseh, a social media marketer, who noted that he met Ngornadi during his detention in Abuja DSS custody, said the applicant “was beaten and thoroughly tortured during the period of interrogation by the officers of the 1st Respondent who accused the Applicant of being a member of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB); an allegation which the Applicant denied.”

He added that Ngornadi was also denied food and sleep, a development, Manasseh said, has deteriorated his health.

Manasseh, in the affidavit, said: “The continuous torture of the Applicant by the 1st and 2nd Respondents has worsened the deteriorating medical condition of the Applicant as rashes are all over the Applicant’s body and his left ear is badly damaged as a result of painful slaps by the 1st and 2nd Respondents.

“The Applicant is currently indisposed; his look is becoming frail and the Applicant is suffering from unimaginable mental agony and psychological trauma as a result of the prolonged unlawful incarceration by the 1st Respondent.

“The Applicant’s psychological and mental stability is being tampered with by the men and officers of the 1st Respondent.

“The Applicant’s family is going through hell as they all thought the Applicant was missing for about five months as he became unreachable for too long without knowing he is being arbitrarily held by the 1st Respondent; the 1st Respondent detained him without informing his family members or giving him access to his family members or lawyers.

It was after my release from unlawful detention of the 1st Respondent that I made contacts with the Applicant’s relatives who became aware for the very first time that the Applicant is being unlawfully held by the 1st Respondent.

“The long, unlawful and unjustifiable detention of the Applicant by the 1st Respondent occasioned the premature death of the baby delivered by the Applicant’s wife. The psychological effect of not knowing the whereabouts of the Applicant on the Applicant’s wife resulted to the unfortunate death of the newly born baby.

“The Applicant, arrested on his way home with provisions for a new baby, is not aware that his baby is dead as a result of his unjustifiable detention by the 1st Respondent.

“The Applicant is constantly being tortured, beaten, dehumanized and denied food and sleep by the 1st Respondent without justification.

“The three children of the Applicant at the University are on the verge of dropping out as a result of his prolonged detention since the Applicant is the breadwinner of his family.” (Nigerian Tribune)

Source: News Express


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