Anthony Okolie, a trader, has instituted a suit before the Federal High Court, Asaba, against Hanan, the daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari; and the Department of State Services (DSS), seeking N500 million as damages.
Also joined in the suit as a defendant is MTN, a telecommunications provider.
The suit marked, FHC/ASB/CS/3/2020, was filed by Okolie’s lawyer, Tope Akinyode.
According to the plaintiff in a supporting affidavit, he instituted the suit because he was illegally arrested and detained by the DSS for 10 weeks for using a MTN line previously allocated to Hanan.
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Okolie said he was arrested by the DSS on July 19, 2019, in Asaba, Delta State, by operatives of the DSS and was kept in their detention until September 22, 2019, as Hanan, who was schooling in the United Kingdom, reportedly failed to clarify issues on the ownership of the line.
Attaching relevant documents, the plaintiff insisted that he bought the telephone line from an accredited MTN centre and stated that he was shocked at his arrest and that of his business associate by the secret police.
The affidavit partly read: “That on December 8, 2019, at Ogbeogonogo Market, Nebu Road, Asaba, Delta State, I purchased a SIM card with Phone Number, 09035666662, for the sum of N1,000 only and I received a SIM pack with accompanying documents as a result as evidence of purchase receipt.
“That in line with relevant regulations, I approached a kit operator of the 3rd respondent (MTN) named Jeff, who captured my biometric and registered the SIM card in my name and on my behalf.
“That in July, 2019, I visited my business associate at his residence in Asaba and saw him being taken away by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS). During the process, they obtained information from him on who he communicated with last over the phone and my associated announced that it was me.
“That immediately afterwards, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) arrested me and led me to their vehicle, asking me to keep quiet and drove me to their offices in Asaba, Delta, State.
“That after a while, they disclosed that my arrest was ordered by the Presidency and I had to be taken to Abuja for further interrogation on which basis they drove me to Abuja by road the following day.”
The applicant stated that he explained to the DSS how he bought the SIM card but he was informed that the phone line, which was linked to his SIM card, was once used by Hanan.
“They thereafter labelled me a criminal for using a phone line that previously belonged to the 2nd respondent.”
The plaintiff also claimed that he was denied access to his lawyers while in detention as his case was marked “First Family”.
He also stated that he lost a N5 million business deal in incarceration, while his mother developed high blood pressure due to the situation.
“They also disclosed to me that the President wants to see me and my case was boldly earmarked, First Family. Based on the foregoing, officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) maintained that the 2nd respondent (Hanan) must be available to clarify her allegations against me before I was allowed freedom from their facilities.
“That the 2nd respondent (Hanan) was contacted several times by officers of the 1st respondent (DSS) but the 2nd respondent (Hanan) declined making herself available by claiming that she was busy with studies in the United Kingdom,” the affidavit read.
Okolie urged the court to declare that his long detention was an abuse of his fundamental human rights and that the actions of the DSS contravened sections 35 and 34 of the 1999 Constitution.
He also wants the court to grant an order to “compel the respondents (DSS, Hanan and MTN) jointly or severally to pay the applicant the sum of N500,000,000 only as general and aggravated damages for the gross and unlawful violation of the applicant’s right to acquire moveable properties, freedom of movement and self-dignity”.