August 2, 2018
Following a N200million suit filed by Femi Falana Chambers against the Department of State Services, (DSS) and the outcry of media stakeholders and human rights groups, the DSS, today (Thursday August 2), again produced Mr. Jones Abiri at a Magistrate court in Abuja. The case could not however proceed because the DSS failed to produce its witnesses and the matter had to be adjourned till August 16 with Mr. Jones Abiri being ordered to be remanded in Keffi prison.
It would be recalled that Mr. Abiri is also facing stringent bail conditions including the equirement to have two sureties who must be very high officers in the civil service.
Reacting to the development in a statement today, the Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, said “it was very irresponsible for the DSS to have failed to produce its witness after having illegally detained Abiri for two years and therefore effectively stalling his trial”.
The IPC Director also noted that the stringent bail conditions imposed by the Court were unacceptable as it would be very difficult for Abiri, who the DSS has labeled a terrorist to get two Level 16 public officers as sureties.
According to Mr. Arogundade “the attitude of the DSS showed that it did not have any case against Abiri and he should therefore be set free immediately and unconditionally”.
It would be recalled that Jones Abiri, a journalist and publisher of the Weekly Source local newspaper in Bayelsa State was in 2016 forcefully arrested and thrown into detention by the DSS and held incommunicado until he was rushed to court recently.
Program Officer/Safety Desk Officer
International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos, Nigeria