Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)suburbs have come under alleged harassment in the hands of some security agencies under the guise of cracking down on Boko Haram suspects, Blueprint investigation has revealed.
In three separate cases, our correspondent learnt that security agents, mostly the State Security Service (SSS) and the military have variously invaded houses of some of the affected residents at odd hours without warrant of arrest.
One of the victims, Abdulkareem Isah, a resident of Dagiri in Gwagwalada area council, said he was arrested on January 10, 2013 and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a similar case, a retired deputy superintendent of Immigration (DSI), Usman Nababa, a resident of FCDA Owner-Occupier Estate, Kubwa, was also subjected to the harrowing experience by the SSS.
In a petition dated January11, 2013, obtained exclusively by Blueprint, entitled, ‘Illegal arrest and detention of Malam Abdulkareem Isah…..over unfounded accusation of being a member of Boko Haram – demand for release forthwith’, Dawud Sulayman of J.O. Oluwale & Co, stated; “On January 10, 2013 at about 3am at Dagiri in Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja, men of the SSS and some military men allegedly invaded the house of Isah who is the chief imam of the central mosque in Dagiri.
When asked if he knew one Suleiman, whom they suspected to be a member of Boko Haram in Dagiri area, the petitioner said he told the security agencies that he did not know Suleiman and he (Isah) had never been a member of Boko Haram. Thereafter, he was arrested and whisked away to an unknown destination.
The petition, addressed to the SSS Director General and copied to National Security Adviser,( NSA), Director General, National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) and the Attorney General of the Federation noted, “We believe that no one is above the law, when there is perceived breach of law or peace, but the state apparatus should not be used for oppression of innocent citizens, else the state will be a violator of the right of individuals capable of breaching peace.”
In a similar tone, Nababa, who spoke exclusively to our correspondent, claimed he got a call from a neighbour who alerted him of the presence of armed robbers in the area. This call, he said, prompted him to look out through his widow.
The retired immigration officer, alarmed by what he saw, disclosed that about 12 well-armed men, dressed in black and some in helmets, invaded his neighbourhood.
“When I came I didn’t see them, but one of my neighbours saw them and called me. He said, ‘Chairman, please help us, there are so many armed robbers around us, so you can call the police to help us, because they have surrounded us. So, when I got the call, I looked through my window and I saw men in black with sophisticated weapons.’
Explaining how the suspects were arrested around 3am, Nababa said: “They collected my handset, took it to their big van vehicle which had some gadgets and whatever they did to it I don’t know.
“They later asked to know if I knew one Ishaq Abbass, one of our Islamic teachers to which I replied yes. I told them he was in the Islamic school alongside others sleeping. Upon asking if I could show them the place, I said yes after which I asked a friend, (name withheld) to join me. The SSS asked me to enter their vehicle and I declined. I walked there because it was not far.”
Upon getting there, he said he knocked on the door and called on Ibrahim, another occupant, stressing, “When Ibrahim and Ishaq came out, the security agents ordered them to lie down and instantly tied Ibrahim and Ishaq’s hands to their back.
“Then, they blindfolded them. This was done to some other occupants of the mosque like Abdullahi and Aliyu. And then I saw SSS people put gun on their heads. At that point, I cautioned the officers, that they should please not kill them here. And we don’t know what they have done,” he further explained.
Although another victim Yakubu Mohammed, popularly called Maigemu, who was lucky to have been released by the security agents, however said his in-law, Murtala, was yet to regain freedom.
When contacted, the spokesman of the SSS, Marylyn Ogar, did not respond to phone calls put to her cell phone. A text message sent to her to respond to some matter was not responded to either as at the time of filing this report.