Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), a human right lawyer, has given 48 hours to the Department of State Services to either release the 26 Bureau de Change, BDC, operators in its custody or take them to court.
In a letter addressed to the Director-General of DSS, Yusuf Bichi Magaji, in Abuja, and made available to DAILY POST in Kaduna, the lawyer explained that if the DSS failed to act, he would approach a court and demand for the effort of their fundamental human right.
Recall that all the affected members of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, ABCON, Northwest chapter, were invited from Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Minna and Lagos for questioning by the DSS in Abuja on the 9th, 12th, and 14th of March, 2021, and have been held incommunicado since then.
Tarfa, therefore, described illegal their arrest by the DSS, without any arraignment before a court.
He explained, “The Apex Court of Nigeria has, in a plethora of decided cases, frowned at the continued detention of citizens of this country unlawfully by security agents and their agencies without due recourse to the court and in violation of extent provisions of the Constitution.
“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.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria lamented that none of the arrested family members have had access to them, stressing that some of the arrested individuals have underlying health challenges which required regular medical attention.
He opined that their continued detention without arraigning them before a Court of Competent jurisdiction for an offence known to law is a clear breach and a violation of their fundamental human rights.
The lawyer explained that by neither charging the detained BDC operators to Court nor releasing them on administrative bail, the DSS violated section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that the security agencies may not detain any suspect for longer than 48 hours without a valid court order.
The 26 detainees are Adamu Ibrahim Naim, Inuwa Talle Danladi, Muhammadu Yahaya, Yahaya Saidu Ibrahim, Muhammad Ali Adam, Said Saidu Abdullahi, Surajo Adam Muhammad, Auwalu Ibrahim Fagge, Nura Tasiu, Muhammad Lawal Sani, Muhammad Abba Lawan, Bashir Ali, Abdullahi Umar Usman, Hassan Idris, Nura Gani, Babangida Ali, Abubakar Yellow, Baba Usaini, Sani Maiwaya, Abdulrahman Kokawa, Garzali Yusuf, Ibrahim Shaking, Auwalu Ali, Munzali Ali, Mallam Abdulazeez, and Auwalu Gambo.
Also, the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has warned against further rights abuses by authorities.
The CNG noted that it was improper in a democracy for those saddled with the responsibility of safeguarding citizens’ rights to be the ones breaching them.
CNG’S Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman noted that both Nigerian, International laws and conventions are clear on the sanctity of individuals rights, which include the right to personal liberty with adequate protection against arbitrary arrests and detentions.