A retired senior official of the State Security Service has been held without trial by the agency for 48 days and counting over his alleged ties to Ibrahim Magu, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
Abba Kaka Mohammed was arrested by SSS agents on July 17 but had neither been released not charged to court ever since, his lawyers said.
The Nigerian law allows a maximum of 48 hours for a suspect to be charged to court or freed on administrative bail. But Mr. Mohammed has now spent weeks languishing in detention without arraignment, amidst concerns by his family that he might have lost one of his eyes after being brutalised by SSS operatives in custody.
His lawyers were granted access to him for the first time on Tuesday. They had since approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for fundamental rights enforcement proceeding against the SSS and Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
His family members also told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Mohammed had taken critically ill and should be released or charged to court in order to get adequate medical attention.
Mr. Mohammed retired last year as an Assistant Director, Office of the Director General, ADODG, performing the role of a Chief of Staff to the Director-General of the SSS, Lawal Daura. But his relationship with Mr. Daura subsequently deteriorated.
“The SSS DG accused him of holding grievances against the SSS, a claim that is clearly not true,” a relative of the victim told PREMIUM TIMES, adding that Mr. Daura and his client had been long time acquaintances.
The relative, who asked not to be named for fear of being targeted by the SSS, said when Mr. Mohammed was arrested on July 17, he was taken to his residence along the Airport Road in Abuja, and another one near Galadimawa neighbourhood, also in Abuja.
“But they found nothing after all the searches they conducted,” the relative said. “Nothing implicating was found.”
Mr. Mohammed was then taken to the SSS custody, where he was confined to a cell without adequate care, the relative said confirming that Mr. Mohammed’s lawyer and his daughter were only allowed to see him last Tuesday.
“They also accused him of being a front for Magu, saying his long-time relationship with the EFCC boss was suspicious,” the relative said.
The relative said Mr. Daura had always known that Mr. Mohammed was a friend of Mr. Magu, having both hailed from Borno and being friends for over a decade.
“The SSS officers just wanted him to implicate Magu with anything, even when they’ve never had any transactions together,” said the relative.
On August 25, lawyers from Femi Falana chambers on behalf of Mr. Mohammed approached the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court for the following reliefs:
- A declaration that the detention of the applicant at Abuja by the first respondent in their detention facility since July 17, 2017 till date without being charged to court for a known offence is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates the applicant’s fundamental rights to personal liberty, dignity of person and fair hearing as enshrined in section 34, 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
- A declaration that the detention of the applicant at Abuja by the first respondent without access to his medical doctors, drugs, family and lawyers, since July 17, 2017 till date is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates the applicant’s fundamental rights to health, freedom of association as enshrined in Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Article 11 of the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP A10) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
- An order of this honourable court directing the immediate and unconditional release of the applicant from custody of the first respondent forthwith.
- An offer of this honourable court compelling the respondents jointly and separately to pay to the applicant the sum of N2,000,000,00 (Two billion naira) as general and aggravated damages for the illegal violation of his fundamental rights to life, dignity of his person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association.
- An order of this honourable court compelling the respondents joint or separately to publish in five national dailies a public apology to the applicant for two weeks for the violation of the applicant’s fundamental rights to life, dignity of his person, fair hearing, health, freedom of movement and freedom of association.
- An order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents from further violating the applicant’s fundamental rights in any manner whatsoever and howsoever without lawful justification.
Mr. Mohammed’s daughter also swore an affidavit detailing how her father was arrested and the high chances that he’d gone blind in one eye in custody of the SSS.
The SSS could not be reached for comments due to its refusal to name a spokesperson.
A spokesperson for the AGF, Saliu Isa, did not respond to requests for comments.
The SSS is believed to be holding scores of Nigerians over an extended period of time without trial. The agency had declined to free a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, despite several court rulings for his bail.
Mr. Mohammed’s ordeal adds to the fallout of the worsening disaffection between Messrs. Daura and Magu.
The duo had been locked in political and administrative rivalry since Mr. Buhari tapped them to head their respective agencies two years ago.
The SSS twice thwarted Mr. Magu’s confirmation by the Senate, accusing him of being reckless and corrupt.
Mr. Magu had also openly criticised the SSS, describing the secret police as an outfit without credibility when he appeared before the Senate for his last confirmation hearing.