The Department of State Services has said the Presidency ordered the investigation of a trader, Anthony Okolie, who was using a telephone line previously owned by the President’s daughter, Hanan Buhari.
The DSS said this in a counter-affidavit in response to the originating motion filed by Okolie.
The DSS position seems to be at variance with that of Hanan who had said in her own counter-affidavit that she never reported any case to the agency.
Okolie, who was detained for 10 weeks by the DSS, dragged the DSS and the President’s daughter as well as MTN Nigeria before a Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State.
The applicant is seeking N500m in damages for his ordeal.
In a counter-affidavit deposed to by one S.M Kayode on behalf of the DSS, the agency said it had the right to detain Okolie.
It read in part “Sometime in July 2019, the first respondent (DSS) received a letter dated July 5, 2019, from the Presidency informing the first respondent’s service of a recurring case of impersonation of the first family by an unidentified individual using GSM number 09035666662 and directed the first respondent to investigate the matter.
“According to the letter, the individual was impersonating a member of the first family to defraud unsuspecting members of the public and specifically made contact with one Ahmed Halidu to whom he made monetary demands.
“Consequently, the first respondent’s service located the applicant (Okolie), who was the user of the line in Asaba and arrested him and transferred him immediately to the nearest locus of complaint for easy investigation.”
The DSS said upon his arrest, Okolie immediately confessed to using Hanan’s former line to demand money.
The agency admitted that it detained Okolie for longer than the period permitted by law.
It said the prolonged detention was caused by the thorough investigation it had to do.
The DSS added, “My lord, we hasten to state that from the averments before this court, the seeming circumvention of the requirement of the law in detaining the applicant was not deliberate but was necessitated by the overriding need to preserve classified issues that arise from the investigation.
“These issues, if divulged, could further fortify the criminal intelligence of the applicant and other criminal-minded persons and therefore compel the expedience of the action taken by the DSS.”
Okolie had deposed in his affidavit in support of the originating motion that he was denied access to a lawyer.
The DSS, however, attached a confessional statement of the applicant as an exhibit.
In the statement, Okolie said he bought the SIM card without knowing that it was previously owned by the President’s daughter.
He further stated that in a chat on WhatsApp, he asked someone to please give him N5,000.
The statement further read, “I was arrested on July 31, 2019, for communicating with the first family, which is the President’s family but I never did except when I had a chat with an unknown number asking me how I was and my family and then I asked for assistance of N5,000 which the person promised to give me but never talked to me again.
“I didn’t disturb him or her because I didn’t know the person just wanted to play along.”
The matter has been adjourned till March 3, 2020, for hearing