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Falana Files N200M Suit Against DSS For Detaining Journalist For Two Years

Foremost Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana has filed a N200M Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement suit against the Department of State Security (DSS) on behalf of a journalist, Jones Abiri.

The suit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja is seeking that DSS should pay Abiri N200M for detaining him even when he has not committed any offence known to law.

Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer filed the suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja on behalf of Abiri who has been held in the custody of the DSS for about two years without charge, reports PUNCH METRO.

The suit which was filed on Tuesday, sought among other prayers an order directing the DSS  to pay to the journalist the sum of N200m in damages for the illegal violation of his fundamental rights.

The suit prayed for a declaration that the detention of the journalist in Abuja without access to his family members, friends and medical doctors since his arrest on July 21, 2016 “is illegal and unconstitutional”.

Falana argued that the detention violates the applicant’s fundamental rights including, rights to personal liberty, dignity of person, fair hearing, health and association, as well as freedom of association.

He also contended that Abiri’s rights which were violated by the DSS were guaranteed by sections 34, 35 and 40 of the Constitution as well as Articles 11 and 16 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

A litigation clerk in Falana’s law firm, Paul Ochayi, said in an affidavit filed in support of the suit that Abiri was arrested without warrant by “the armed agents” of the DSS in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on July 21, 2016.

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The affidavit added that “there is no court order which authorised the detention of the applicant” and that the agency, “has not charged the applicant to any court”.

The supporting affidavit said, “That the respondent’s agents brought the applicant from Yenogoa to Abuja on July 21, 2016 and have since then held him incommunicado.

“That the respondent has failed to charge the applicant with any offence.”

It also said that Abiri who has aged parents, wife and children has not committed any offence known to law to warrant his continuous, unwarranted and illegal detention.”

The matter has yet to be assigned to a judge.

PUNCH METRO

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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