Human rights activist, Olawale Bakare, has written a petition to the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Bichi, narrating his bitter experience in custody of the agency.
Bakare who is widely known as Mandate is standing trial alongside human right activist and journalist, Omoyele Sowore, in a case of alleged treason and other offences brought against them by the Nigerian Government,
Bakare, who was arrested on August 5, 2019, by DSS operatives for participating in a peaceful demonstration calling for a better country in Osogbo, Osun State, was kept in detention until December 5 before being released on bail after several court orders ordering his release and Sowore’s.
The human rights activist in his petition to the DSS DG said he was tortured both in Osun and Abuja by officers of the secret agency to make a false confessional statement to indict Sowore.
“I was illegally detained at the DSS Osun State Command where my interrogation officer physically and mentally tortured me and subjected me to two weeks solitary confinement before I was transferred in chains and blindfolded for several hours to the headquarter in Abuja on Monday, August 19, 2019.
“On August 21, I was summoned by one Mr Mansur B. with Service code 253333 who was to be my case officer in Abuja to give my first statement.
“A few days later, I was once again summoned to make an additional statement by the same officer, when another so-called senior officer descended on me and not only brutalised me but also used every instrument of torture at his disposal to make the pains as intense as possible just to force me to admit and make wrong declarations that will indict Sowore Omoyele.
“More shockingly, I was illegally detained without a detention order for 56 days by the DSS before I was finally legitimised by a judge of the Federal High Court on September 30, 2019.
“However, It is a pitiable remark that several suspects like myself are currently at the headquarter for weeks, months, and even years suffering the same fate. They neither have a detention order against them nor given access to a proper legal consultation or representation in a bid to eclipse justice.”
Bakare, in his petition, condemned the act of the personnel and demanded that Bichi ensure there is a change in the operations of the agency and also release all Nigerians being detained illegally in its centres.
“I hereby submit to you (Mr Yusuf Magaji Bichi, DG DSS) without fear of contradiction, that this condemnable act of injustice has been perceived to be the standard manner of operation of the Department of State Services both at the headquarters in Abuja and the state commands.
“Therefore, I emphatically demand that the mode of operation of the DSS be changed to suit the constitutional nature for which it is designed.
“That all suspect be allowed access to legal representation and consultation in due course and all suspect that has been illegally detained for more than 48 hours be immediately and unconditionally released.”