Release Detained Bureau de Change Operators Or Take Them To Court Within 48 Hours, Lawyer Tells DSS

A human rights lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), has given the Department of State Services 48 hours to either release the 26 Bureau de Change (BDC), operators in its custody or take them to court.

The lawyer gave the ultimatum in a letter addressed to the Director-General of DSS, Yusuf Bichi Magaji, in Abuja.

Tarfa faulted the continued detention of the Bureau de Change operators, noting that if the DSS fails to act, he will approach a court and demand the enforcement of their fundamental human rights.

He said, “The Apex Court of Nigeria has, in a plethora of decided cases, frowned on the continued detention of citizens of this country unlawfully by security agents and their agencies without due recourse to the court and in violation of extant provisions of the Constitution. We, therefore, demand the immediate release of all our clients in your custody. This is without prejudice to the investigation that is being conducted by your establishment with respect to whatever reason they were arrested for.”

Tarfa gave the names of those detained as Adamu Ibrahim Naim, Inuwa Talle Danladi, Muhammadu Yahaya, Yahaya Saidu Ibrahim, Muhammad Ali Adam, Said Saidu Abdullahi, Surajo Adam Muhammad, Auwalu Ibrahim Fagge, Nura Tasiu and Muhammad Lawal Sani.

Others are Muhammad Abba Lawan, Bashir Ali, Abdullahi Umar Usman, Hassan Idris, Nura Gani, Babangida Ali, Abubakar Yellow, Baba Usaini, Sani Maiwaya, Abdulrahman Kokawa, Garzali Yusuf, Ibrahim Shaking, Auwalu Ali, Munzali Ali, Mallam Abdulazeez, and Auwalu Gambo.

According to him, those detained are all members of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, ABCON, North-West chapter. 

They were invited from Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Niger and Lagos for questioning by the DSS in Abuja on the 9th, 12th, and 14th of March, 2021.

Tarfa, therefore, described their arrest by the DSS, without any arraignment before a court, as illegal. He added that they have been held incommunicado since then.

He added, “None of their family members has had access to them. Some of the arrested individuals have underlying health challenges which require regular medical attention which they have not accessed since the dates of their arrests by your establishment.

“At this juncture, it is important to state equivocally that the continued detention of our clients without arraigning them before a court of competent jurisdiction for an offence known to law is a clear breach and a violation of their fundamental human rights.”

The lawyer also said by neither charging the detained BDC operators to court nor releasing them on administrative bail, the DSS violated section 35 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that the security agencies may not detain any suspect for longer than 48 hours without a valid court order.

Source: SaharaReporters


Oluchi Omai

Oluchi Omai is a Blogger/ Content Creator, he is a prolific writer and movie maker.

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