Constitutional lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, has accused the Department of State Services (DSS) of acting above the law by refusing to release former Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, weeks after he was arrested.
Ozekhome, in a chat with newsmen in Abuja yesterday, called on the DSS to release the former governor without stringent conditions.
He insisted that the detention of Suswam with no right to fair hearing is an infringement on his rights as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
Suswam has been in detention since February 27, 2017, following his arrest by the DSS over his alleged involvement in illegal possession of firearms.
Ozekhome said, “The continuing detention of the former governor of Benue State, Mr. Gabriel Suswam constitutes a violation of his fundamental human rights.”
“Every accused person has a right to a fair trial, which includes the right to be informed of the charge with sufficient detail to answer it.
“You have to give him (Suswam) adequate time and facilities to prepare a defence to a public trial before an ordinary court; to have his trial begin and conclude without unreasonable delay.
“Also, Suswam has a right to be present when being tried; to choose, and be represented by a legal practitioner.”
He added that the arrest and detention of Suswam by the DSS constitutes a violation of the former governor’s fundamental rights guaranteed under sections 34(1),(a) and 35(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
Ozekhome also pointed out that the continuing detention of Suswam without recourse to Court or due process of law constitutes a violation of his fundamental human rights guaranteed under Section 35(1)(c) and (4) and 44(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and is therefore illegal and unconstitutional.