Card reader consultant sues DSS for illegal detention; ...demands N100milion damages

A consultant to Act Technologies Limited, one of the firms engaged by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the supply of Card Reader Machines, Muhammad Musa, has sued the Department State Services.

Musa, in his fundamental rights enforcement suit which he filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja‎, alleged that he was illegally detained by the DSS since March 24, 2015.

According to an affidavit filed in support of his suit, Musa is being held in DSS detention along with the Chief Executive Officer of the consultant to Act Technologies Limited.

Musa wants the court to award N100million damages against the security organisation for illegally detaining him.

He also wants the court to order his release and declare his arrest, detention and continued intimidation by the respondent (the DSS) in relation to the card reader issue, as illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of his fundamental rights.

The suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/292, was filed on his behalf on March 27 by his lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN).

The plaintiff was said to have, on March 24, received a phone call from the Director General of the DSS inviting him to the organisation’s headquaters in Abuja and had since been held in detention upon honouring the invitation.

He was said to have since 1pm on March 24 been held without any charge.

Wife of the applicant, Mrs. Sa’adatu Musa, deposed to a supporting affidavit because he was still being held in the DSS detention.

The wife said the respondent’s officials had refused her access to her husband since he honoured the DSS boss’ invitation.

‎ Musa, who is praying the court to award N100m as general and exemplary damages against the DSS for its unlawful acts, also seeks an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondent and its agents from engaging in further harassing, intimidating, arresting and detaining him in relation to the card reader used by INEC.

He hinged his prayers on three grounds, one of which included that DSS agents unlawful interference with his liberty in connection with the procurement of the card readers constituted an infringement of his fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

The plaintiff’s wife said her husband was not an employee of Act Technologies, but a consultant, who was being held with the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

The wife, who prayed the court to order the immediate release of her husband, including granting all the prayers in the application, said if not restrained by the court, the DSS would continue to detain her husband without arraigning him before any court if the respondent has anything against him.

The case was said to have been assigned to Justice Adeniyi Ademola, but has yet to be fixed for hearing.

Credit: Ade Adesomoju/Punch