The Department of State Services (DSS) has told a federal high court in Asaba, Delta state, that Anthony Okolie, the man arrested for using the previous phone line of President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, was detained for 10 weeks because his offence threatened national security.
Okolie, who was arrested in July 2019 in Asaba, Upon his release, Okolie sued the DSS, MTN and Hanan Buhari, demanding compensation of N500 million for the violation of his rights.
While opposing the defendant’s case at the resumed court session on Thursday, March 12, E. E Daubry, the DSS counsel, urged the court to uphold Okolie’s detention because “the matter is not expected to be brought to court.”
He said they could not charge the suspect (Okolie) to court because if they did, “classified information” would be divulged.
“The first family is being investigated and that is a national security issue and this representation and misrepresentation were made to people within and outside Nigeria and that warranted a long investigation, his phone had to be analysed,” he said.
“And My Lord, the DSS in performing its responsibility can meet with other agencies because there are other strategic government agencies. My Lord, we have deposed to the fact that classified issues arose in the course of that investigation that made the DSS say ‘no, we cannot go to court with this.’
“We can’t take the applicant to court, cannot file charges. The law requires that if they are staying beyond 48 hours, there must be reasonable circumstances that warrant that. And in this case, we are saying the national security issues that underpin the investigations cannot be revealed to third parties. Now, my lord, if we file under the ACJA that we need an order to keep him in SSS custody, it will mean filing at the registry. Between the registry and when it will be convenient for my lord to hear the application, the information is divulged.
“We urge this court to dismiss this suit with what I call leg-breaking cost.”
However, Tope Akinyode, Okolie’s lawyer, prayed the court to dismiss the submissions of the DSS.
He said: “The applicant was detained for a period of 10 weeks, 10 weeks my lord. I have read all the provisions of the constitution from the beginning to the end and I have never seen an allowance of such under the law. We ordinarily do not need to labour ourselves. it is a clear violation of the applicant’s human rights”.
Akinyode added that MTN should have demanded a court order before disclosing details of his client to the DSS.
Meanwhile, the president’s daughter has since denied the allegation that she asked the DSS to arrest Okolie.
The matter has been adjourned till April 1 for judgment.
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