A human rights lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), has given the Department of State Services, DSS, a 48 hour ultimatum to either release the 26 Bureau de Change, BDC, operators in its custody or take them to court.
In a letter to the Director-General of DSS, Yusuf Magaji, in Abuja, Tarfa insisted that if DSS failed to act, he would approach a court and demand for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights.
He said: “The Apex Court of Nigeria has, in a plethora of decided cases, frowned at the continued detention of citizens of this country unlawfully by security agents and their agencies without due recourse to the court and in violation of extent provisions of the Constitution.
“We, therefore, demand the immediate release of all our clients in your custody. This is without prejudice to the investigation that is being conducted by your establishment with respect to whatever reason they were arrested for.”
Tarfa noted that the 26 detainees who are all members of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, ABCON, Northwest chapter, were invited from Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Minna and Lagos for questioning by DSS in Abuja on March 9, 12 and 14, 2021; adding that they have been held incommunicado since then.
Tarfa described their arrest by DSS, without any arraignment before a court, as illegal., adding “None of their family members have had access to them. Some of the arrested individuals have underlying health challenges which require regular medical attention which they have not access to since the dates of their arrests by your establishment.