Death Scare Forces Obua’s Release From DSS Custody

Death Scare Forces Obua’s Release From DSS Custody

By Salisu Sulaimon | Sub-Editor on July 23, 2015
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Mr. Gordon Obua Goodluck Jonathan
Mr. Gordon Obua is pictured behind President Goodluck Jonathan | REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Mr. Gordon Obua, has been released by Nigeria’s Secret Police, the Department for State Security Services (DSS) after spending six days in detention without charges being brought against him.

A close family source spoke with our reporter Thursday, July 23, 2015, confirming that Obua has been reunited with his wife and children after the ordeal of being kept in solitary confinement in an underground cell at the DSS (also known as SSS) headquarters in Abuja.

Following a report by The Trent, Monday, news of the death of Obua in the custody of the DSS went viral, intensifying the panic which had hit the rank and file of the DSS after he was feared dead. Obua’s eventual resuscitation after frantic efforts by medical personnel, forced the DSS to immediately stage an impromptu press conference early Tuesday afternoon certifying he was still alive.

Fearing public outcry and intense media backlash that could have heralded his actual death in the DSS custody, the DSS immediately released Obua on Tuesday, reuniting him with his family.

Mr. Gordon Obua is pictured with his wife, Dr. (Mrs) Merit Obua at the birthday thanksgiving reception for their triplets (in their arms) recently. (Photo Provided by Merit Obua)
Mr. Gordon Obua is pictured with his wife, Dr. (Mrs) Merit Obua at the birthday thanksgiving reception for their triplets (in their arms) recently. (Photo Provided by Merit Obua)

The Buhari Government Crackdown

Obua was arrested and detained by the DSS on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, July 16, 2015 after he honoured an invitation from the newly appointed Director General of the DSS, Lawal Musa Daura, for undisclosed reasons. He was denied access to his lawyer, his family, and his doctors during his confinement.

Senior government sources say that the former CSO of President Jonathan was being detained as the first steps in a massive crackdown by the Buhari government on officials who served under the last administration.

Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki’s house was also raided by operatives of the DSS last week with subsequent threats of charges for treasonable felony being brought against him over $40,000, seven luxury cars, and seven rifles found in his residence.

Dasuki, who served under President Jonathan, is a retired Army colonel and crown prince of the Sokoto Sultanate. He maintains that the raid on his house is a ‘witch-hunt’ by the Buhari government.

Former National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki
Former National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki

The Death Scare

Forty-eight hours after every attempt to reach Obua in detention failed, Onochie Onwuegbuna, the lead partner at Zeran Legal, issued a press statement on behalf of Obua’s family complaining about the conditions in which his client was being detained. He accused the Buhari government of witch-hunting his client.

Onwuegbuna said that the Buhari government has ‘marked’ his client, and other individuals who held offices in Jonathan’s administration and the arrest of his client was a scheme, “in other to implicate them by all means for phantom crimes or offences”.

In his statement, he also said that his client was diabetic and hypertensive and was being denied his drugs as well as food and water by the DSS.

As Obua’s detention in solitary confinement continued, fears about his health became widespread as the DSS remained mum on the reason for his arrest or the charges under which he was being held.

On Monday, our reported was informed by a source who was closely monitoring the situation that Obua had died in the dungeon of the DSS at the Abuja headquarters. His family and lawyer confirmed that they had seen or heard from him since he was detained the previous week.

According to another reliable security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to our report, “Obua collapsed on Monday evening and was found unconscious and was unresponsive to first aid treatment. He remained unconscious for hours as the DSS operatives overseeing his detention entered into panic mode, trying to reach their bosses for directives on what to do.

“As the crisis dragged on for three hours, officials of the DSS began to conclude that he had died in their custody because the prospects of reviving him were bleak, and the news of his death began to filter out of the agency.

“He was eventually taken to a hospital where doctors were able to revive and stabilise him. He spent the night in the hospital and was released to the custody of DSS officials on Tuesday morning.

“We are grateful for his life because this death in detention would have sparked a major national crisis,” he concluded.

DG of the DSS pictured in a handshake with General Muhammadu Buhari
DG of the DSS pictured in a handshake with General Muhammadu Buhari

DSS Stays Mum

Obua served former President Goodluck Jonathan for five years as his Chief Security Officer. He is a staff of the DSS.

President Buhari appointed Lawal Daura, his kinsman from his hometown in Katsina on July 2, as head of the DSS after firing Ita Ekpeyong. Daura was recalled from retirement as he had retired from the service of the DSS when he reached the mandatory age of 60 according to the Civil Service rules of Nigeria.

The DSS, however, yet to issue an official statement on the circumstances surrounding the detention of Obua.

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