How DSS brutalised (allegedly) African Bar Association’s Director of Strategic Communications
A legal practitioner and Director of Strategic Communications, of the African Bar Association, Douglas Ogbankwa Esq., has narrated his ordeal in the hands of the State Security Service operatives.
Ogbankwa in a number of tweets via his X profile recalled how a Principal Staff Officer (PSO) of the Secret Service slapped and threatened to kill him for being assertive towards protecting the interest of his client.
“I visited the DSS Office with my client and we were at the Waiting Room when two different ladies at intervals wanted to take my client to go and make a statement without my presence. I protested that I need to be present by the Provisions of the ACJA.
“It was at that moment that one man wearing blue native attire that I know is the PSO, Operations and Intelligence, came out asked my client to come out, and shouted at me to go back to the reception, it was at this point, I informed him that I was not a Kindergarten pupil that should be pushed around, because he was very uncouth, rude and aggressive
“He then said I should leave the Office and I told him, the DSS Office is an Agency of the Federal Government and I was a freeborn, who should be able to access same at reasonable hours of the day.
“It was then I asked my client that we should leave. We were leaving when the PSO Operations and Intelligence, asked that they should lock the gate that I was under arrest. I informed him that being assertive is not a crime, but a right as we are in a free society. He slapped me immediately and asked his boys to bundle me into an Underground cell. I was dragged on the floor, cleared from my leg, I received over 7 slaps and blows. I stood up and informed them that they are no longer doing SSS Business, but their personal business as I do not know the State Command Officers to act this way .
“This PSO Operations and Intelligence is new and lawyers have really suffered in his hand. I told him the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria must hear this and he said they are the President Boys. One of them even said they will kill me here and nothing will happen I am presently scared for my life as, the man holding gun said if I come to the DSS Office again, they will gun me down.”
Reacting to the incident, NBA-SARC in a statement said: “The Nigerian Bar Association Security Agencies Relations Committee (NBA-SARC) is deeply concerned about the recent report by a lawyer alleging that he was subjected to assault and false imprisonment by officers and men of the Department of State Services (DSS) while on a visit to the DSS office with a client.
“Such an allegation, if verified, would constitute a grave violation of the fundamental rights of legal practitioners. It will also add to the emerging and disturbing trend of attempts by certain law enforcement agencies to intimidate lawyers who are engaged in the lawful performance of their duties. This does not bode well for the rule of law and access to justice.
“The NBA-SARC is currently investigating the matter and is in communication with the Director of Legal of the DSS, who has requested time to conduct their internal investigation. The Committee has also reached out to the legal practitioner in question.”
▪︎ Report by Law and Society Magazine