Falana and Falana Chambers, the office of a renowned human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has demanded the immediate release of one Mr Abiodun Emmanuel Ilesanmi illegally detained by operatives of State Security Services (also called Department of State Services).
According to the lawyer, the secret police operatives invaded the residence of Ilesanmi at Alapere/Ogudu Estate in Lagos at midnight of April 2, 2021.
The victim is a rice trader at the popular Mile 12 Commodity Market of Ketu, Lagos, who was now known to have committed any known offence.
His residence and shop were also said to be 'clean' after they were searched by the SSS officers.
This was contained in a letter by Falana & Falana Chambers, dated May 5, 2021 and addressed to the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission situated at 19, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, Abuja.
In the letter written on Wednesday and made available to SaharaReporters, the Chambers claimed that the SSS requested for a Senator or Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to stand as a surety before Ilesanmi could be released.
“At about 2am on 2nd April, 2021, a team of armed officers of the State Security Service, Shagisha, Lagos State, broke into our client’s house at Alapere/Ogudu Estate Lagos, searched the entire house, and carted away money, documents and other valuable items.
“At the end of the illegal search, the SSS officials arrested our client without a warrant of arrest and took him away. A few hours later, our client was later taken to his shop at Mile 12 Commodity Market by the armed officers of the SSS which was searched without a search warrant. Even though nothing incriminating was found, the officers took away 2 bags of rice.
“Notwithstanding that our client has not committed any criminal offence known to the law, he has remained in the custody of the SSS since 2nd of April, 2021 without a remand order. In response to our application of the release of our client, the SSS demanded that we produce a surety who must be a Senator or a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Apart from the fact that our client has not committed any offence to warrant the production of a surety, he is not in a position to find a Senator or Minister to stand as surety for him.
“Assuming without conceding that our client committed an ‘offence’ for being in possession of 2 bags of rice, it has nothing to do with the security of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To that extent, the case file ought to have been transferred to the Nigeria Customs Service or the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for investigation and possible prosecution if it established that our client committed any offence.
“Having regard to the facts and circumstances of this case, you will agree with us that our client’s fundamental rights to personal liberty and dignity of the human person as guaranteed by sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Articles 5 and 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Enforcement and Ratification) Act have been violated by the SSS without any legal justification whatsoever.
“We are therefore compelled to request you to use your good offices to prevail on the management of the SSS to release our client from illegal custody forthwith.
“Accept our assurances of the highest professional esteem while we await your positive response to our request,” the letter said.