ABUJA, Nigeria – Mubarak Usman, a tailor based in Abuja, has given an exclusive account of the incident that led to his getting shot, allegedly by operatives of Nigeria’s Department of State Services, DSS, at Garki Market last Thursday.
Usman said the incident started when a woman, who was his customer, reported him to DSS operatives on August 23, 2023, over a missing clothing sample belonging to her mother-in-law and unfinished work.
Usman claimed to have completed some of the clothing items and admitted that two remained undone, in addition to the missing sample.
The tailor said that the DSS operative promised to return to collect the remaining items.
Usman then reported the incident to the police, who advised him to be cautious and provided him with a contact number for emergency use.
According to Usman, on the day of the incident, three men dressed in DSS uniforms approached him, claiming he was under arrest.
“I was looking for a way to run,” Usman said. While attempting to flee to a nearby police station, he was shot near his knee.
Usman described a horrific scene where he was beaten by the alleged DSS operatives even as he was injured and bleeding.
“They started dragging me, and that was when I sustained most injuries on my body,” he added.
An intervention by the police and local witnesses prevented Usman’s arrest.
“The police later came and insisted that they won’t take me away, and after some time they left,” Usman narrated.
This incident has sparked outrage and raised questions about the DSS’s engagement with civilians, especially in non-security matters like a personal dispute over tailoring services.
It also exposes the vulnerable state of ordinary Nigerians who may be subject to abuse of power by law enforcement agencies.
Civil rights organizations and legal experts call for an in-depth investigation into the matter.
This case has become yet another flashpoint in the ongoing discussion about police reform, and misuse of power by security agencies in Nigeria.
The DSS has yet to issue a statement regarding the incident.