Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Release Or Charge Suswam To Court, Middle Belt Group Tells DSS

Middle Belt Renaissance Group, on Tuesday, condemned the continued detention of former governor of Benue State, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, by the Department of State Service, DSS, demanding that he should be released or charged to court to defend himself of any allegation against him.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja, the group, in a statement that was signed by its President General, Mr. King Onoja, decried that Suswam who piloted affairs of Benue State from 2007 to 2015, has remained in detention since June 21 when he honoured an invitation that was extended to him by the DSS.

The group decried that the ex-governor had since been denied access to his lawyers, family members and his personal physician It maintained that failure of the security agency to charge Suswam to court within 48 hours of his arrest was in flagrant violation of section 35(1) (c) (4) & (5) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.

Besides, the group alleged that Suswan’s ordeal was being sponsored by “powerful politicians” from Benue State.

It said: “Dr. Suswam’s arrest and detention follows a pattern of disrespect for constitutional rights and civil liberties of the Nigerian people by Nigerian security agencies. You will recall that in February 2017, this same agency arrested and then detained him for a period of 72 days without charge.

“While the DSS has not formally informed anyone of the reasons for his arrest and detention, we have become aware that Dr. Suswam’s detention is connected to a petition ostensibly written by highly placed politicians in Benue State which alleges among other things that:

“He is currently harbouring, or in contact with Mr. Terwase Agwaza a.k.a Gana, a wanted fugitive who has been on the run from the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies who seek to prosecute him for various crimes.

“And that he is one of the sponsors of the incessant killings in the state.
“We see these allegations for what they are- a ploy designed to distract the people of Benue, and indeed the Nigerian people, from failure of the Federal Government and the Benue State government to perform its most basic function which is to guarantee the safety and security of all the Nigerian people.

“It is deeply saddening that instead of the politicians in power in Benue State and in fact the entire North Central region of the country to come up with strategies to protects people from the plot being executed to forcefully and brutally acquire their ancestral lands, and to define and protect their property rights, they are more committed to playing politics with the sorrow, tears and blood of the Nigerian people.

“This arrest and detention also show the warped state of our criminal justice system. In the developed world, upon receiving a petition or complaint about a crime, the security agencies conduct and conclude their investigations before the arrest and detention of any citizen. This is to ensure the speedy commencement and conclusion of trials.

“We make bold to remind the DSS that it is set up and ran by public funds to serve the interest of the generality of the people and not to demonstrate its allegiance to the government of the day”, the group stated.

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