Maxwell Okpara
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Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer drags DSS to court over abuse of rights

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By Ajuma Edwina Ameh

Mr Maxwell Opara, one of the lawyers of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Monday filed a N50 million suit against the Director- General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi, and the DSS over an alleged violation of his fundamental human rights.

The suit filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja, is asking the court to grant him financial compensation for the infringement of his rights to dignity and human person.

According to Opara, on August 30, he was subjected to various degrading treatments when he went to visit Kanu in detention, as DSS operatives upon his arrival commandeered him to a particular room within their facility for purposes of alleged bodily search, “wherein they forced him to remove his medicated eye-glasses, wedding ring, belt, jacket and shoes and accordingly left him shabbily dressed”.

He added that he was subjected to the humiliation of holding his trousers with his hands, wearing a bathroom slippers meant for awaiting trial inmates and exposed to air conditioner which inflicted cold on him for about three hours.

He is also wants an order of perpetual injunction restraining the leadership of the DSS, the DSS and their representatives from further disturbing or interfering with his rights to dignity of human person, liberty and freedom of movement by any further harassment, intimidation and humiliation during his routine visit to their facility to see his client, or in any way infringing on his constitutional right as guaranteed by the law.

The Applicant equally demanded a written apology by the Respondents, to be published in two national daily Newspapers for the unwarranted infringement of his fundamental rights, and further prayed for an order of court directing the Respondents to jointly and severally pay for the cause of the action.

“A declaration that the Respondents whilst in the execution of their duties must respect the fundamental rights of citizens and accordingly abide by the provisions of Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the provisions of the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.

“A declaration that the actions of the men, operatives and officers under the command commission of the Respondents on the 30th of August, 2021 during the Applicant’s visit to see his client in their detention facility, wherefore they commandeered the Applicant to a particular room within their facility; for purposes of alleged bodily search, wherein they forced him to remove his medicated eye-glasses, wedding ring, belt, jacket and shoes and accordingly left him shabbily dressed, harassed, intimidated and humiliated, amounts to a gross violation of the Applicant’s right to dignity of human person as guaranteed under Sections 34 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Pe0ple Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.

“A declaration that the actions of the men, operatives and officers under the command/commission of the Respondents on the 30th of August, 2021 during the Applicant’s visit to see his client in their detention facility, wherefore they commandeered the Applicant to a particular room within their facility; for purposes of alleged bodily search, wherein they forcibly removed his belt, medicated eye-glasses, wedding ring, jacket and shoes, and subjected him to the humiliation of holding his trousers with his hands, wearing a bathroom slippers meant for awaiting trial inmates and exposed to Air Conditioner inflicted cold for 3 hours, are not permitted by law; even during bodily search”, the suit read in part.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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