27 Nov 2014

Court orders SSS to unseal APC data office and produce detainees

A Federal High Court in Lagos, Wednesday, ordered the State Security Service, SSS, to unseal the warehouse used by the All Progressives Congress, APC, as data centre.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa also granted an interim order restraining the SSS from further shutting party’s data office or taking any step in connection with the property pending the determination of the substantive suit.

SSS operatives had, last weekend, raided the building which the opposition party said was its data office at Allen Avenue, Lagos, arresting workers and confiscating documents and computer hard drives.

The SSS said its action was based on a petition it received alleging “unwholesome activities” inside the building.

“Based on this information, the service placed the building under surveillance and having been convinced that some unwholesome activities were going on in the building, it undertook a raid of the premises,” the SSS said in a statement Sunday.

But the APC insists that the building was used for the collation of its members’ data.

On Wednesday, the party, and its staff still under detention at the SSS office, filed an action before the court seeking an enforcement of their fundamental rights.

In their application, the detained APC staff said they were only carrying out their legitimate duties of inputting data from the APC’s physical membership form into a digital database.

In its assertion, the party said the action of the SSS in forcefully entering its data centre and vandalizing its physical and digital assets was a violation of its right to property.

The APC also stated that the “brazen conduct” of the SSS and the Nigerian Police not only sought to intimidate the party’s staff and members, but also compromised the confidential information of millions of Nigerians who volunteered their personal information in accepting the party’s membership.

The judge granted leave to the applicants to serve court processes to the respondents – the Nigerian police and the SSS – by substituted service, at their Lagos offices.

The judge also ordered the respondents to produce the detained applicants (Chinedu Atuche, Fayemi Olaposi, Chika Augustine Onuchukwu, Ebun Ilori, and Esther Enemuwe) in court at the next adjourned date.

Credit: Premium Times

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