Vanguard (Lagos)

13 February 2013

Nigeria: Edo Lawyer Sues DSS for Alleged Illegal Arrest, Detention

Benin — A lawyer in Ekpoma, Edo State, Mr. Osadebamen Okhilua, has instituted a suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Benin, Edo State, against the state branch of Department of State Security, DSS, for alleged violation of his rights to personal liberty, dignity and fair hearing, as guaranteed under Sections 34, 35 and 36 of the 1999 Constitution and Articles 5, 6, and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Respondents in the suit are Director General, DSS, Mr. Palmer; Head of Operations, Edo DSS, Edo State Director, DSS and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

Describing the action of operatives of Edo DSS as unconstitutional and illegal, he prayed the court for an award N150 million as general and/or exemplary damages/compensation for his unlawful and unconstitutional arrest, detention and preventing his mother and relatives from having access to him.

Okhilua is also demanding a written apology to be published in at least one Nigerian newspaper.

The applicant wants the court to declare that the failure and refusal of the officers of DSS, who were agents, servants or privies of the respondents, to provide him with his telephone or any other telephone to enable him contact his solicitors, family or relatives and inform them that he was being detained at the offices of the respondents in Benin City and or obtained a legal help from January 24 2012 to February 3, 2012, was a gross violation of his rights to liberty as enshrined in Section 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution and Article 7(d) of the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights.

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