DSS must apologise to Amnesty International over enforced disappearances of citizens


Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the lead counsel to the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Friday, said that Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Service (DSS) must tender an apology to global body, Amnesty International. Ejiofor insisted that the global human rights organisation was right in its summation that the DSS was engaging in alleged forceful disappearance of innocent Nigerians.

The counsel noted that “Amnesty International is impeccably correct and deserves an apology from the DSS.”

Ejiofor’s reaction was against the backdrop of the press statement credited to the spokesperson of DSS, Mr. Peter Afunanya, in relation to the issue of the enforced disappearance of innocent Nigerians raised by the AI.

Kanu’s lawyer said, “I initially treated the obvious misinformation from the DSS, emanating from their spokesperson as part of social media contrives until I watched the video clip last night.

“A careful look at Mr. Afunanya’s facial expression as he was busy vainly trying to distort facts, depicts that of a drowning man struggling to survive, and strenuously conjecturing blatant lies to defend the uncivil activities of a supposed democratic institution like the DSS?”

He questioned “If one may ask – if the operatives of the DSS’s style of operation is not by enforcing forceful disappearance/kidnapping and abduction of innocent citizens at the wee hours of the night, what other styles permissible under the law have they been adopting in their operations?”

He explained that the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance (ICPED) was an International human rights instrument by the United Nations intended to prevent forced disappearance which as defined in International Law, is part of the crime against humanity.

According to him, the convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its Resolution 47/133 and came into force on 23rd December 2010.

“Nigeria is a state party to the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance.

“Is the State Security Service conscious of this convention in the discharge of its statutory mandate? The answer is capital NO” Ejiofor declared.

The IPOB lead counsel reminded the DSS spokesperson, Afunanya, that his office had countless number of judgements and Orders from Courts of competent jurisdiction, compelling the DSS to produce those they abducted at the wee hours of the night, and release them unconditionally.

He said that “Mr. Afunanya should recall that on the 6th day of June, 2021, the operatives of the DSS led a bloody onslaught in my peaceful home in Oraifite, and during that murderous assault, the invaders gruesomely murdered my personal assistant, dumped his lifeless body inside the boot of my car, zoomed off with his corpse, which they later set ablaze inside my car around Neni town, in Anambra State.

“What a crime against humanity! Can this dastardly act be defended under any law, Mr. Afunanya? During the same unprovoked murderous attack on my peaceful home, three of my domestic staff were abducted by the soulless operatives of the DSS in conjunction with their criminal counterparts in security uniforms.

“These persons namely, Mr. Felix Okonkwo (Driver), Mr. Okafor Lawrence Ugochukwu (Gardener), and Ikenna Chibuike (Steward) are still being held in the detention facility of the DSS here in Abuja, since the 6th day of June 2021 to date. The same office from where Mr. Afunanya is dishing out falsehood.”

Ejiofor wondered what other term could be used to describe this type of operation, if not forceful kidnapping and enforced disappearance of innocent Nigerian Citizens”?

He added that it has become more worrisome that “After being served with a Judgment/Order of Court of competent jurisdiction, directing for the immediate release of the three domestic staff abducted from my residence, the DSS is still manifestly in contempt of the Court Judgement/Orders.

“Or can it be said that Mr. Afunanya is disputing the findings of fact and judgement of the learned trial judge in Re: Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor Vs Nigeria Police Force & Ors. Suit No: FHC/AWK/CS/56/2021, which found the operatives of the State Security Service liable for the bloody invasion of my peaceful home, murder of my PA and abduction of my three domestic staff?” Ejiofor asked.

“It is disheartening to note that in this 21st century, the DSS is treating with the greatest contempt, the Orders of Courts of competent jurisdiction served on them.

“The DSS has by their very modus operandi, constituted themselves into law, even under a democratic government. “Otherwise, how can one explain that over ten pronouncements and directives of the Federal High Court Abuja, Coram Nyako J., affecting the management and welfare of our indefatigable client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu were all flouted with impunity by the DSS.

“The most troubling part is the specific Orders of the Court requiring admittance of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s personal physician for an independent medical opinion on his health status, but till date, the DSS continues to flout this Order of Court with impunity. The list is endless.”

Ejiofor therefore took time to reel out 21 names of those still in DSS custody.

According to him, “These are persons who the DSS variously enforced their disappearances at the wee hours of the night without any Court Order, and any time we succeeded in securing Order from the court granting them bail, the DSS will quickly rush back to the Federal High Court to obtain their own Order to legitimize their illegal act.

“Mr. Afunanya is, therefore, implored to advise his office to first purge themselves of the contempt of plethora of Court Orders hanging on their necks, before going public to further expose their office to ridicule.

“Many thanks to Amnesty International for calling a spade by its very name without minding whose ox is gored.”

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