Following a statement on Thursday, March 17, 2016 by the Ekiti State Government alleging that a state lawmaker, Mr. Afolabi Akanni had died in the custody of Nigeria’s secret police, the DSS has been forced to produce an “ailing and frail” man to the press.
The Cable published two photos of a man who told its reporter that he as Afolabi Akanni. “TheCable confirms that he is alive, but weak, apparently from ill-health,” the online newspaper revealed.
The man, who said he was Akanni, curiously hid his face from the cameras so it is unclear if he is Akanni. The Cable reports that he “is taking a nap at a desk at the conference room of the DSS” and “he could barely carry himself, and his eyes were red and shadowy” and he “walked with strenuous effort as he was led back into DSS custody”.
The Ekiti State Government had said that Akanni has been denied access to his lawyers, his family, and his doctors since he was abducted from the state’s House of Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) which serves as Nigeria’s secret police.
“We call on the DSS to immediately clarify the situation as to the status (dead or alive) of Hon Afolabi Akanni, representing Efon Constituency by producing him physically for all Nigerians, particularly his immediate family to see,” said Lanre Ogunsuyi, the state commissioner of information in a statement emailed to The Trent on Thursday.
An operative of the DSS who identified himself as Abdullahi Garba told the press that Akanni was arrested for some serious breaches bordering on state security. “You may have been aware of the recent situation in Ekiti state in which the DSS was accused of abducting the state assembly legislators,” Garba said.
“The fact is that one of the members of the assembly Hon Akanni Afolabi was duly invited by the service over some serious breaches bordering on state security, and for which he has some explanations to make. These breaches fall under the purview of the DSS to investigate.
“This press conference has become necessary in order to debunk a rumour which is being dangerously spread in Ekiti state by some mischief makers to the effect that Afolabi has died in custody. Nigerians and Ekiti people in particular are convinced to see that Afolabi is hale and hearty as he is being presented to the press today,” he said.
A court had ordered the release of Akanni and his colleagues since March 11, 2016. The DSS continues to disobey that court order. Some journalists asked Garba why Akanni is being detained despite an order for his release. “We didn’t get the court order,” he told reporters.
Akanni has not been charged to court by the DSS and his detention is unlawful.
Below is the press release the DSS emailed to The Trent on Akanni’s Detention on Thursday, March 17, 2016
You may have been aware of the recent situation in Ekiti State in which the DSS was accused of abducting of the State’s Assembly Legislators.
The fact is that one of the members of the Assembly, Hon. Akanni AFOLABI was duly invited by the Service over some serious breaches bordering on State security and for which he has some explanations to make. These breaches fall under the purview of the DSS to investigate.
This Press Conference has become necessary in order to debunk a rumour which is being dangerously spread in Ekiti State by some mischief makers to the effect that Hon. AFOLABI has died in custody. Nigerians and Ekiti people in particular are convinced to see that AFOLABI is hale and hearty as he is being presented to the Press today.
The DSS will therefore warn all those who have planned to make a meat out of this to desist from it and stir clear from trouble as the Service will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law against any one or persons that may engage in violent actions of any kind.
In a similar vein, all law abiding Ekiti residents should go about their normal businesses as the Service assures them of full protection by security agencies.
For: Tony OPUIYO
Department of State Services
March 17, 2016