- Advertisement -

An activist describes a near-death encounter while in purported DSS custody

Posted by

Collins Trueman Opumie, a youth activist from Bayelsa state, testified before the State High Court in Yenagoa on Friday about his near-death experience while under the Department of State Security’s (DSS) custody following his unlawful arrest on August 2, 2016, and his two-year detention stemming from a complaint brought by the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

- Advertisement -

In response to questioning during cross-examination in the lawsuit (No. YHC/324/2022) against the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Opumie described his suffering.

In his response to the DSS attorneys representing the initial defendant, Opumie maintained that the accusations made in his petition to the Bayelsa State Police Command and the charges brought before the Abuja magistrate court verified DSS and NAOC’s involvement in his suffering.

- Advertisement -

Opumie criticized C.S. Eze, the DSS’s principal attorney, for asserting that the organization had no involvement in his claimed unlawful arrest and detention.

“The DSS played an essential role,” he stated. I wasn’t supposed to be in the DSS subterranean cell if they had no part in it.

- Advertisement -

Around midnight, I was also hauled out of my cell and given a blindfold. They drove me along Azikoro Road to the cemetery. I was led to a recently excavated tomb and instructed to confess to the false accusation that I desired to destroy Agip establishments or face certain death and interment. However, I declined. I was given a phone and had a conversation with Barrister Dennis of Agip.

In addition, Opumie disputed the assertion that he was fabricating tales about the DSS in order to benefit financially and said that the Nigerian Agip Oil Company had reported him to both the DSS and the police.

“Agip dehumanized me in front of the security services, and they unlawfully detained me in a manner reminiscent of the Gestapo,” he claimed.

Additionally, during Opumie’s cross-examination by Innocent Ekpen, the NAOC’s counsel, it was noted that Dennis, the head of the organization’s security department at the time, collaborated with the DSS and police to unlawfully arrest and detain him for two years on false accusations. Opumie acknowledged that the majority of the records of conversations and meetings between Agip officials and the police were lost during his unlawful arrest and detention.

Following the conclusion of the cross-examination of the two sets of defendants, DSS and NAOC, the presiding judge, Justice Ebiyon Duke Charlie, adjourned the litigation to January 19, 2024.

At the conclusion of the court session, the claimant’s attorney, Ebipreye Sese, gave an assurance that his client, Opumie, thought that going to court was his last option for obtaining justice regarding his alleged arrest and 730-day detention by the Department of State Security in an underground detention facility in Abuja.

The activist, a native of Bayelsa State’s Opuama Community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government area, had filed a lawsuit against his wrongful arrest and incarceration, seeking damages in the amount of N9 billion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *