The Department of State Services has said that the unlawful arrest and detention of a young Nigerian businessman based in Asaba, Delta State, Anthony Okolie, was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okolie was arrested at Asaba and later transferred to the DSS Headquarters in Abuja where he was unlawfully detained for at least 10 weeks for purchasing and using an MTN mobile telephone line previously used but abandoned by Hanan, President Buhari’s daughter.
Okolie, through his lawyer, has since sued the DSS, Hanan and MTN for the breach of his fundamental human rights.
He had earlier revealed that DSS officials informed him that Hanan ordered his arrest and that she was contacted three times to back up her claims but failed to show up, prompting the secret police to release the young businessman.
But in twist of events, the DSS has now said that it received official letter of instruction from the Presidency dated July 5, 2019 upon which it acted to arrest Okolie.
In an affidavit deposed to at the Federal High Court, Asaba, where the case is being heard, the DSS said Okolie’s purchase and use of the MTN mobile telephone line formerly belonging to Hanan, was a “classified national security issue” upon which basis the security outfit had no option than to arrest Okolie.
Reacting to the latest development, Okolie’s lawyer, Tope Akinyode, National President of Revolutionary Lawyer’s Forum, said, “The Nigerian constitution made no provision of any kind for first family and the involvement of the Presidency in the matter was a disgraceful deployment of state apparatus for personal gains.”
Meanwhile telecommunications company, MTN, has argued that it did not transfer absolute right of ownership of the SIM card to Okolie because it was a national asset, which cannot be personalised.
The matter is scheduled to come up on March 3 before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba for hearing.