The Department of State Services (DSS) has explained why Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) and Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), decided to remain in its custody.

The DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya in a statement on Friday, November 14, 2019, says the two men decided to remain in the secret police custody because the agency is taking good care of them. 

Afunaya says this after DSS’ continued detention of the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore despite two court orders for his release.

During the week, Nigerians bashed the security agency for disobeying the court orders for Sowore’s release.

However, in a bit to absolve the DSS of illegal detention of El-Zakzak and Dasuki, Afunanya says the duo had appealed to the Courts to be left in the custody of the Service.

National Leader of Shi'ite movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzakyhas been in DSS custody since 2015. (Punch)
National Leader of Shi'ite movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzakyhas been in DSS custody since 2015. (Punch)

The statement reads, “There has been outcry about alleged illegal detention of some notable persons undergoing trials at the Courts and disobedience to Court Orders by the Service. To put the records straight, the Service wishes to advert public attention to the circumstances that warranted the custody of Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.) and Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky in its facility.” 

“For the avoidance of doubt, the duo had appealed to the Courts to be left in the custody of the Service instead of being taken to the Correctional Centres. Well-meaning Nigerians are equally witnesses to the case of Omoleye Sowore, who, on a similar order of the Court, was to be remanded at the Kuje or Suleja Centre, but preferred to be kept at the DSS.

“Everyone, also, saw what eventually played out with El-Zakzaky, when he opted to be returned to the custody of the Service even as the Court had granted him leave to seek medical care in India. These were choices these personalities made on their own volition.”

He further says that the DSS has treated both Dasuki and El-Zakzaky with “the best courtesies” adding that “they are allowed access to people and use of other facilities like telephones, gymnasium, TV, newspapers and medical facilities”.

Afunanya says the families of the two men bring food of their choices to them everyday. 

“Against the wrong perception that the Service held these persons in defiance to Court Orders, it is obvious, by the above explanations, that they rather chose be looked after by the DSS. The reason for such choice is not farfetched. It is simply because the Service’s holding facilities are good and within acceptable international standards.”

Dasuki and El-Zakzaky have been in detention since 2015.