July 15, 2024

Law firm demands prosecution of DSS officials over torturing of suspected thievery

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Etim Ekpimah

Sterling Law Centre has called on the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute some Department of State Services (DSS) officials who tortured, dehumanised, and disorientated a worker at Statement Hotel, Abuja over an allegation of thievery.

According to the firm, on 3 November 2022, Patrick Okachi, who works as a cleaner in Statement Hotel in Abuja was at work carrying out his normal duties when he was summoned by Celina Okafor, the secretary of the hotel.

It was learnt that the lady accused him of stealing an undisclosed amount of money from the office of the Chairman the previous day and claimed that he was caught on CCTV camera.

The firm in a statement signed by Deji Ajare, Communication Officer, and Adaobi Iyiegbu, Executive Director, said the suspect denied this allegation and demanded to see the CCTV footage, which was not shown to him.

“Celina Okafor, instead of taking the lawful route, to investigate and verify her suspicion, decided to take the route of infamy, by contacting one Festus who arranged for two rogue officials of the Department of Security Service (DSS) to come into the office, pick Patrick up and torture him by beating him severely with all kinds of weapons.

“They went further to insert sharp objects in the penis, all in a bid to make him agree that he committed the theft. They then took Patrick to another location in Dawaki where they kept him for two days. When it was clear that Patrick was not going to confess to the crime he did not commit, the men took Patrick out and dumped him on the streets of Abuja.

“This brutality was reported to the Central Police Station at the Federal Secretariat in Abuja and an investigation has been launched into the matter.

“While we are of the belief that the Central Police Division (Federal Secretariat Police Division) of the FCT Police Command has had time to investigate this matter and to charge the perpetrators before a competent court, we are also satisfied thus far with the conduct of the station headed by its DPO, ACP Abdullahi Alhassan in the investigations.

“Sterling Law Centre is concerned as we cannot rationalize the delay of the FCT Police to prosecute the perpetrators for torture, assault and acts of violence, while the police, virtually on a daily basis, arrests and charges others to court for those types of crimes, as we are convinced that Celina Okafor’s conduct alongside those of her collaborators, is a criminal one under the provisions of the Penal Code, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the Anti-Torture Act 2017 and the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act 2015,” the statement read in part.

The statement added that the firm suspects strongly that there may be surreptitious moves by some powerful persons to stall, stop or avoid the prosecution of the perpetrators of such dastardly act against our client, as similar efforts have been made to intimidate, coerce and induce our client to abandon his quest for justice.

“Sterling Law Centre, therefore calls on the Commissioner of Police, FCT to direct immediate prosecution of the suspects in the appropriate court.

“Calls on the Director-General of the DSS to offer all necessary cooperation to the Police in order to fish out the rogue officers who carried out this dastardly act.

“Appeals to the police authorities to ensure that any and all attempts at influencing the investigation and prosecution of the suspects are rejected.

“Calls on all relevant agencies such as the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, National Human Rights Commission, the National Committee Against Torture, civil society organisation, and media, amongst others to lend their voices and support in their different capacities to ensure that Patrick gets justice,” the statement added. The firm, therefore, notifies the general public that a suit will be filed against all concerned parties to ensure the enforcement of Patrick Okachi’s fundamental human rights.

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