“How I Was Detained by DSS For 3 Years Thinking I Was An IPOB Member”: According to Lawyer Narrates

"How I Was Detained by DSS For 3 Years Thinking I Was An IPOB Member": According to Lawyer NarratesExperienced Ebonyi lawyer Pius Awoke, who has over 15 years of legal expertise, told his story of being wrongfully detained by the DSS because they thought he was an IPOB member.CONTINUE FULL READING>>>>>

In an interview with The Sun, Pius said,

“I am a legal practitioner of over 15 years standing. I was called to bar in 2009. On 26th July 2021, I went to the Federal High Court, Abuja to witness the arraignment and trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, he was not produced in court, most lawyers were not even allowed access into the court room. We only gained access into the reception and after the media interview, we left Abuja. While on my way back to Abakaliki, by the Abuja end of the Murtala Mohammed Bridge of Abuja/Lokoja Expressway, our vehicle was intercepted by the military at the checkpoint. They told us to wait for DSS officials who were looking for a certain vehicle and that we should be patient and wait. We had to park our vehicle by the roadside. Shortly after about 35/40 minutes or so, the DSS arrived at the venue and ordered us to surrender our phones. We surrendered our phones and they brought out a piece of paper from their pockets containing about two to three phone numbers and started dialling the phone numbers with our respective phones. When they could not find any of the phone numbers stored on our phones, they gave us our phones back, then they went behind the vehicle and had some brief discussion. When they came back, they told us to surrender our phones for the second time. We surrendered our phones. They started re-dialling the phone numbers with our phones. After sometimes, they didn’t find any of the numbers in any of our phones.

They told us to come down and we came down. They threatened that they will deal with us if they find any phone in the vehicle and they went into the vehicle themselves and searched the vehicle. They couldn’t find any phone or any incriminating material in our vehicle, then they started searching our bodies. As they were searching our bodies, one of us, Ojuma Kenneth had extra phone battery and that extra battery was meant for the same phone he had. They told him to explain how he had that extra battery and asked what about the phone that has the battery. He told them that he had that extra battery because the battery in his phone could fail because of the long journey.

They said that he was lying, that he had already thrown the phone and that phone might contain those numbers that they were looking for. From there, they told him to lie down, he lay down and they started beating him, hitting him with butt and using cassava sticks around there to beat him and that’s how they now decided to arrest all of us and tied our hands in our backs like common criminals.

My explanation to them that I was from court and that I am a lawyer even to the extent that I brought out my wig and gown fell on deaf ears. They took us to the DSS headquarters Lokoja that evening. That evening when we got to DSS headquarters Lokoja, I asked them, what was our offence? They said that when we get to where we are going to, the person who asked them to bring us will tell us our offences, I said okay.

The following morning being 27th July 2021, they brought us out from the cell and handcuffed us and put us inside the vehicle and drove us back to Abuja. While we were still on the way, they blindfolded us to the extent that when we got to the DSS office in Abuja, we didn’t know where we were until we were taken to the cell. So, when we got to the cell in Lokoja that 26th day of July, we didn’t taste any food and we didn’t taste any water.

That 27th, we didn’t taste any food but when we got to the DSS headquarters, Abuja, some of us who had the urge drank water there because there was water in the cell. So, in the evening of that same day, one of the DSS officials when work had already closed, came and opened the cell and told us to come out and we came out. He ordered us to pull off our clothes, leaving only our singlets and boxers. We did. He started searching our bodies to know if we had any charm and any mark he saw on our bodies, he questioned about it.

At the end of the day, he poured urine into an empty can of bottle water and splashed on our different heads to neutralize any charm/odeshi that we might have and now chained us in twos and put us in the cell. About five days later, they started interrogation. I gave details of where I went and why I went there. So, they never invited us for interview or told us our offences but they were interrogating us based on ESN. Eventually, after some days and that should be August 28, 2021 or something thereabout, they released the two drivers that drove our vehicles. Then, on 22nd of September 2022, they called some names in the cell and took some people out, including one of us called Igwe Johnson remaining eight of us now because we were 11 in number. When that happened, they started bringing other inmates, that is, Boko Haram suspects from other cells to join us and that made us 26 in total.

The following morning as early as around 4.00-5.00am, they brought chains, called our names out, chained us in twos and drove us to one military cantonment in Niger State. There, I remained till I was released on 21st June, 2024. I was never arraigned before any court, I was never taken to any court, I was never even interrogated. That’s the simple thing I have to tell you. I never had communication with anyone from the day I was arrested till the day I was released.”CONTINUE FULL READING>>>>>