Pelumi Olajengbesi, counsel to the 12 persons that were arrested at the residence of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly called Sunday Igboho, has raised alarm over their deteriorating health at the Department of State Services’ office.
Olajengbesi, who led another lawyer to the office of the DSS in Abuja on Friday, said the detainees were made to sleep on bare floor, given engine oil as soup, and were badly beaten by operatives of the Nigeria’s secret police.
The lawyer added that the agency kept back eight persons in custody, claiming that the names it was given were wrong.
Olajengbesi alleged that the detainees are being treated badly and worse than animals by the DSS.
He said, “Sequel to the appointment we had to visit the detainees, three of our lawyers led by Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq. were at the DSS today. However, we were only privileged to meet with 4 of them as the DSS insisted that they are working with the correct names of those in their custody as reflected in the Enrollment Order of the court.
“Notwithstanding, we extended greetings to all of them on behalf of Chief Sunday Igboho, Chief Yomi Alliyu SAN and on behalf of the entire legal team. While giving them hints about the state of the matter ahead of the hearing on Monday, we assured them of our commitment to their matter as effort is being made on a daily basis to secure their release, and that we are optimistic of getting justice very soon in their matter.
“On the issue of the discrepancies in the names, it was confirmed that there was error from both sides as to the correctness of their name. We, therefore, agreed to adopt same as reflected on the DSS’ processes and we have concluded plans to file a motion for amendment of our processes in order to avoid any unnecessary legal debate that may further prolong the matter.
“It is important to state that their current situation is a classical definition of wholesome human rights abuse. Their health is sadly poor and in a sorry situation. They are made to sleep on the bare floor and are badly beaten before medical treatment is accorded them to heal and conceal injuries from the torture. Lady K, in particular, seems to have sustained fracture on her left leg and is in serious pains. She has not had a change of clothes and folds herself to sleep in the terrible cell. A larger percent of them have high blood pressure issues as confirmed by the SSS clinic. They are fed with a liquid they call Engine Oil as their soup for their food. Their normal routine is to eat and resume the toilet where they purge for long.
“Suffice to say, they’re being treated badly and worse than animals, and we did our best in assuring and keeping them upbeat and in high spirits before making our exit.”
The Nigeria’s secret police had on July 1 raided Igboho’s residence in Oyo.
The agency also paraded the 12 supporters of the activist, alleging that they attacked DSS operatives during the raid.
The supporters were subsequently moved to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they had been in detention.
Owing to their detention, the suspects had through their lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, filed an application at the court asking the court to “inquire into the circumstances constituting grounds of their arrest and detention since July 2, 2021, and where it deems fit admit applicants on bail.”
They also asked for an order “mandating and compelling the respondents to produce the applicants before this honourable court and show cause as to why the applicants should not be granted bail in accordance with the provisions of section 32 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015”.
Ruling on the application on July 23, Obiora Egwatu, the judge, said there was merit in the application.
Consequently, the judge granted all the orders sought and asked the DSS to produce the applicants in court on July 29 (today) and also show cause on why the court should not admit them to bail conditionally or unconditionally.
However, the secret police failed to produce the detained aides as ordered by the court.
The counsel for the applicants, Olajengbesi, alleged that the DSS had given the applicants new names as there are discrepancies in the spelling of their names.
Justice Egwuatu however held that the order of the court was for the DSS to produce the applicants in court.
He said that order should be obeyed first, before telling the court the circumstances of their arrest.
Justice Obiora reemphasised his order directing the respondent produce the applicants in court on 2nd August.
He also ordered the DSS to grant the applicants access to their counsel.