Ekiti Lawmakers Alert NBA, Amnesty International Over DSS’ Continued Detention Of Colleague

Ekiti Lawmakers

Members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Monday approached the Nigerian Bar Association and Amnesty International over the refusal of the Department of State Services to obey a court order directing it to release the member representing Efon State Constituency, Afolabi Akanni.

The lawmakers, who addressed journalists yesterday, said it was obvious that the DSS was acting a script that would see the detained lawmaker and some other members of the House dead, so that they could be replaced by members of the All Progressives Congress.

The visit to the NBA and Amnesty International offices came on the heels of a peaceful protest last week to the United States and United Kingdom embassies in Abuja by the lawmakers, where they submitted petitions on the continued detention of Akanni.

Mr. Akanni, who was paraded before journalists last week Thursday to debunk claims by the Ekiti State Government that he was dead, was arrested at the Ekiti House of Assembly complex on March 4.

He was subsequently taken to the DSS headquarters in Abuja, where he is allegedly being held incommunicado and his alleged offences undisclosed, aside a vague “weighty security breach” given by the security agency as reason for his detention.

His colleagues claim that he was being denied access to his lawyers, doctors and family members.

On March 11, a Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, ordered that Mr. Akanni be released immediately or be brought to court in Ado-Ekiti on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, but the DSS refused service of the court order when the Court Bailiff, Araromi Ademola, went to its office in Ado-Ekiti, prompting an order of substituted service of the court order through newspaper advertisement.

The order was subsequently published in the Nigerian Tribune of last Thursday.

Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Segun Adewumi; Chairmen, House Committee on Information and Health, Gboyega Aribisogan and Samuel Omotoso respectively were at the NBA national headquarters and the Amnesty International office in Abuja to submit petitions.

They also submitted copies of the court order, newspaper advertorial in which the order was published among other documents.

They decried the silence of human rights activists, especially that of Femi Falana (SAN), saying history would judge those keeping silent because of their political interests.

The lawmakers, who addressed the press after submitting the petitions, raised the alarm over the health condition of the detained lawmaker, saying; “Hon. Akanni said on Thursday, when he was paraded before the press that he slumped twice and no medication was given to him even when he asked for drugs.”

Mr. Omotoso said; “Since it is now obvious that they cannot coerce us into impeaching our governor and leader, Ayodele Fayose, it appears that these people are now working on a sinister theory of snuffing life out of Hon Akanni and some of us so as to pave way for the conduct of bye-election through which they hope to rig APC members into the House of Assembly.

“We have therefore come here to alert the NBA and the Amnesty International of this blatant disregard for orders of our courts by the DSS and infringement on the fundamental rights of our members, especially Hon Akanni, who is dying in detention.

“We are putting the entire world on alert that should anything untoward happen to Hon Akanni, who is being detained without access to his doctors despite being terribly sick and any of us, the DSS and by extension, the federal government should be held responsible”.