A trader, Anthony Okolie, who was arrested by the Department of State Services(DSS) following a complaint by Hanah, a daughter to President Muhammadu Buhari and detained for 10 weeks, has slammed a N500m suit on them.
Mr. Okolie, in a suit filed before the Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State by his lawyer, Tope Akinyode, is demanding N500m from Hanan Buhari, DSS and a telecommunications company, MTN.
The suit, with number FHC/ASB/CS/3/2020, is seeking an order to “compel the respondents (DSS, Hanan and MTN) jointly or severally to pay the applicant the sum of N500,000,000 only as general and aggravated damages for the gross and unlawful violation of the applicant’s right to acquire moveable properties, freedom of movement and self dignity.”
Okolie also asked the court to declare that his long detention was an abuse of his fundamental human rights and that the actions of the DSS contravened sections 35 and 34 of the 1999 Constitution.
The plaintiff said in a supporting affidavit that he was arrested on July 19, 2019, in Asaba, Delta State, for using a telephone line that was previously owned by Hanan.
According to him, he remained in custody, bound by handcuffs, till September 22, 2019, as the DSS waited for Hanan, who was schooling in the United Kingdom, to come and clear him but she never did.
Okolie said on December 8, 2019, at Ogbeogonogo Market, Nebu Road, Asaba, Delta State, “I purchased a SIM card with Phone Number, 09035666662, for the sum of N1,000 only and I received a SIM pack with accompanying documents as a result as evidence of purchase receipt.
“That in line with relevant regulations, I approached a kit operator of the 3rd respondent (MTN) named Jeff, who captured my biometric and registered the SIM card in my name and on my behalf.
“That in July, 2019, I visited my business associate at his residence in Asaba and saw him being taken away by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS). During the process, they obtained information from him on who he communicated with last over the phone and my associated announced that it was me.
“That immediately afterwards, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) arrested me and led me to their vehicle, asking me to keep quiet and drove me to their offices in Asaba, Delta, State.
“That after a while, they disclosed that my arrest was ordered by the Presidency and I had to be taken to Abuja for further interrogation on which basis they drove me to Abuja by road the following day.”
Okolie also attached the receipt for the SIM card as well as the SIM certificate.
He said he made all these clear to the DSS but “they labelled me a criminal for using a phone line that previously belonged to the 2nd respondent (Hanah).”
According to him because of the personality involved, his case file was tagged, ‘First Family’ and he was denied access to his lawyers.
The trader claimed that his mother, who was not allowed to see him, developed high blood pressure while he lost a N5m business deal.