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Suswam files N10bn suit against DSS, seeks unconditional release

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Detained former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswam, on Tuesday filed a N10bn fundamental human rights enforcement suit against the Department of State Services, its Director-General, Mr. Lawal Daura, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami.

Suswam is by his suit filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, is asking the court to declare his detention in the custody of the DSS since February 25, 2017, without trial, as a violation of his fundamental rights, to personal liberty, freedom of movement, and dignity of human person.

He also sought the court’s order releasing him from detention unconditionally pending the commencement and determination of his trial if any charge would ever be filed against him on the basis of his ongoing detention.

‎He sought another order directing the three respondents (the DSS, the DG of DSS and the AGF) to tender public apology to him “in seven national dailies of very wide circulation “for the illegal arrest and detention”.

He also asked the court to order the respondents to pay the sum of N10bn to him as exemplary damages.

His lawyer, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), who filed the suit on behalf of the former governor on Tuesday, argued that his client’s rights allegedly violated by the three respondents were guaranteed by sections 35(1), 34(1), 35(4), 41(1) of the Nigerian Constitution.

The lawyer contended that the rights were also guaranteed by Articles 5, 6, 7(d),12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation 2004.

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The plaintiff, therefore asked the court to declare his arrest and continued detention “as unconstitutional, unlawful, illegal null and void”.

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