Daily Trust (Abuja)

26 December 2006

Nigeria: SSS Denies Us Contact With Damagun - Family

Two Days After the Operatives of the State Security Services (sss), Arrested a Director of Media Trust Limited (publishers of Daily, Weekly, Sunday Trust And Aminiya Newspapers), Alhaji Bello Iliya Damagun, Members of His Family Are Yet to Have Any Form of Communication With Him.

A spokesperson of the Damagun family, Kassim Abdullahi revealed this yesterday when our correspondent visited the family's residence in Damagun, Fune local government area of Yobe State.

Abdullahi stated that the last time the family had any form of contact with Damagun was at the SSS headquarters in Damaturu on Sunday morning, after the family was informed by a personnel of the Security Service that their bread winner was to be moved to Abuja, "for no reason given"

He noted that the SSS had told Damagun on their arrival, that he was to visit the Yobe State headquarters of the service, for a short interview, and would return back shortly afterwards. And so Damagun was prevented from picking along with him, any useful personal item for his convenience. He further said that on arrival at the SSS headquarters, they (including the spokesperson) were told to leave.

"Some men came here in two vehicles; a small Golf and a 504 station wagon, demanding to see Alhaji Bello. He ushered them in, while I was there with them. They told him he was needed for interview at the SSS office in Damaturu and that he was to return shortly. He wanted to pick, I believe some routine household items, but they insisted there was no need. They searched and packed some tapes with his Computers. We followed them to the office. Someone then told us to go back home that Alhaji was to be taken to Abuja. They did not give us any reason. Since then, we have not heard from him. We do not know his condition with them" Abdullahi said.

He noted that the family along with many associates of Damagun know him as a law abiding Muslim, who does nothing criminal. He added that the SSS may have arrested Damagun simply because he promotes Islamic education and Islamic behaviours. Abdullahi said that many people including himself have been sponsored to the International University of Africa, Sudan to study Islamic-related courses.

The family spokesperson said Damagun is in addition, a good Muslin who contributes so much towards the development of Islam. "None of those who were in that school is known to be a bad person. The school is not also known to be teaching any bad thing, so I wonder why all this." He wondered.

Damagun's family Abdullahi said, await his return for the Sallah festival in good health, as it sees the arrest as totally uncalled for and a violation of Damagun's rights to freedom of living and association with people.

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