Fidelity bank card banner Camano banner
Activist challenges DSS over continued detention of newspaper publisher, dismisses claims that he is a notorious militant leader

By News Express on 09/08/2016

Views: 2,062

A Human and Environmental Rights Activist, Mr. Alagoa Morris, on Monday challenged the Department of State Security (DSS) to arraign detained Bayelsa based journalist, Jones Abiri, before a court if its claim were factual.

Alagoa, a Project Officer and Head of Bayelsa Field Operations at Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), made the call in a statement issued in Yenagoa. He noted that only a court of competent jurisdiction could convict a suspect and dispense punishment.

He said that the DSS cannot be accuser and judge at the same time. Abiri, Publisher of a Yenagoa-based Weekly Source, a local tabloid was arrested on June 21 by DSS operatives in his office in Bayelsa and subsequently detained in Abuja.

The DSS had in a statement in June, alleged that he was a notorious militant leader who had made confessional statements.

Alagoa, who is immediate past Secretary of Civil Liberties Organization in Bayelsa, said that Abiri, who he knew for over 20 years, was a reputable journalist and publisher of a community newspaper.

“Abiri is a known journalist in Bayelsa and to the best of my knowledge, he is a gentleman until his arrest by the DSS recently.

“Knowing him from the perspective of a fellow community folk, a brother-in-law and as a journalist never suggested anything associated with the kind of crimes the DSS is alleging he committed.

“I have known Abiri for over 20 years and he had never struck me; not even in my wildest imaginations, as a criminal or militant or belonging to any terrorist organisation,” Morris said.

According to him, the allegations levelled against Abiri are shocking and heavy and require to be proved in court.

“This is more so by the claims that he has already confessed to some of the allegations.

“The concern here is, what the DSS fed the public via the purported press release might be true, but it might also be false.

“So in line with the rule of law, if the state has found Abiri culpable of any of the alleged crimes; what the human rights community expects from the authorities is to charge him to court.

Morris added that the executive could not do both interpretation of the law and execution at the same time.

“It is my belief that Nigeria has advanced to the extent that persons accused of such crimes as alleged, appear in court within 48 hours of arrest,” Morris said.

Morris noted that while the DSS was expected to be professional in the discharge of its duties, the method of obtaining evidence from Abiri was a matter of concern.

He said this was so because the state abhorred obtaining evidence under duress or torture.

“We are aware that obtaining evidence via torture is not allowed by the 1999, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Right.

“This is the more reason such suspects should be presented in court as soon as possible; as all accused persons no matter the crime, are entitled to fair hearing by the law,” he said.

He, however, said that while the security agencies needed to be commended for their efforts in trying to contain the security challenges in the country, they should respect the rule of law.

The security agencies according to him should align their operations to democratic ethos bothering on security and human rights.

He said that under Nigeria’s laws, all accused persons are deemed innocent until proved otherwise in a court of competent jurisdiction and Abiri’s case should not be an exception.

Morris argued that prolonged detention of suspects without prosecution did not speak well of the country and urged that the suspect should be allowed legal representation and access to family and lawyers.

The activist maintained that he remained in full support of the ongoing fight against corruption, kidnappings, sea piracy and all forms of terrorism.

He said that anyone found guilty of such crimes should be dealt with according to the dictates of the law of the land which was interpreted and administered by only the judiciary.

•Photo shows detained Chief Jones Abiri.

Source News Express

Posted 09/08/2016 05:35:54 AM





You may also like...
Activist Deji Adeyanju remanded in prison custody

Coca-Cola Nigeria wins Awards for Outstanding Marketing and...

Fayose sacks cabinet

Bill Gates to deliver the 14th Nelson Mandela...

Iran urges foreign firms to resist US sanction...

Buhari bares his fangs: The return of Abacha-style...

Police arraigns 11 for destroying Shi’ites’ properties

Paris: Police, Yellow Vest demonstrators clash

Obaseki lays foundation for JAMB CBT Centre in...

Bandits slaughter 10 persons in Katsina communities

Intersociety exposes atrocities of Anambra’s killer-generals and violent...

Man attacks religious passenger on bus


Latest News Boko Haram governs Borno communities, collects taxes – Arch Bishop Over 100 persons jostle for commissioners in Kano Four charged with murder over plane crash that claimed 298 lives Disquiet over Ijaw elections, threats of parallel EXCO Boko Haram fuel and drug suppliers nabbed in Adamawa Ogun: Tribunal suspends sitting over threat to lives of witnesses Man steals grandma’s underwear in Ekiti after being promised N2, 000 First Bank manager arraigned for allegedly stealing N52.6m Two 14-year-old boys found guilty of murdering schoolgirl Submit fake document, face wrath of law, NYSC boss warns Corps members Anti-party activities: Ex-Gov Yari rejects APC’s committee report 14 injured as lightning strikes military base


Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (494,992 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (425,770 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (365,637 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (312,234 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (276,492 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (244,174 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (234,199 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (216,084 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (213,202 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (204,651 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (184,700 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (184,004 views)


NNPC Financial reports February 2019

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (94) Business & Economy (4,316) Business Verdict (74) Columnists (1,052) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (209) Entertainment (624) Features (762) Global Business Monitor (379) ICT Monitor (53) International (3,606) Interview (184) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (162) Maggie's Blog (305) News (47,524) Opinion (1,262) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,038) Religion (1,026) Sports (2,045) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update






APO Group Partner




GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera