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Lawyer recalls how he was assaulted at SSS office

A lawyer, Douglas Ogbankwa, has recounted how he was assaulted by officers of the Lagos State command of the State Security Service (SSS), where he had accompanied a client to answer a case. PREMIUM TIMES reports.informationguidenigeria

Mr Ogbankwa, who is also the Director of Strategic Communications of African Bar Association, narrated his ordeal which he said left him in a lingering fear for his life, in a thread of tweets he shared via his X (formerly Twitter) handle on Tuesday.

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“I am presently scared for my life as the man holding the gun said if I come to the DSS Office again, they will gun me down,” the lawyer wrote of his traumatic experience at the SSS office.

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In the episode that began with his dogged efforts to defend the interest of his client, according to Mr Ogbankwa, the officers of the agency rained slaps on him and dragged him on the floor before sending him into an underground cell.

According to him, he was abused after his insistence to be present while his client put down his statement. According to him, the Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) Act 2015 entitles him as a lawyer to be with a client while making a statement to a law enforcement agency.

“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 needed to be present by the provisions of the ACJA,” he wroteJAMB Result

Mr Ogbankwa said his insistence to join his client in writing his statement drew the anger of the Principal Staff Officer (PSO), Operations and Intelligence of the agency.

He said the official, decked in a blue native attire but whose name he did not give, shouted at him and ordered him to back out.

“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 the 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.JAMB Portal

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“I informed him that being assertive is not a crime, but a right as we are in a free society,” he stated.

The lawyer said the official’s reaction afterwards was to land a slap on his face, followed by a flood of over seven slaps from other officers who swooped on him on their boss’ order.

He wrote: “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 were 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.”

He said his assailant scorned his threat to ensure the Nigerian President heard of their misconduct.NYSC Portal

He said they responded by saying “they are the President’s boys”. “One of them even said they will kill me here and nothing will happen.”

The lawyer, who said he was released from detention that same day, described how he had been in the grip of fear for his life following an officer’s threat that he would be shot if he dared to step on the SSS office again.

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Essien, Goodnews is a gruaduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo, Uyo; Currently working at Infoguide Media as a news writer.

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