An Abuja based lawyer, Mr. Emeka Uchegbulam has raised an alarm over the continued detention of his client, Mr. Selky Kile Torughedi by the by the Nigerian Secret Police aka DSS. Uchegbulam, in a fresh Save Our Soul letter to the United Nations, decried the continuous torture, unlaw- ful detention and inhuman treatment being meted by the DSS to Torughedi, who is an ex-militant.
According to the letter directed to the UN SecretaryGeneral and made available to us, Torughedi has been facing the worst ordeal of his life in the hands of the DSS for the last six months, despite a court judgement that he should be freed unconditionally.
The letter further stated that Torughedi’s problem with the DSS started on June 17, 2016, at about one o’clock in the morning, when more than ten heavily armed men in black uniform with hoods drawn over their faces, broke into his house and dragged him from his bed, beat him up, handcuffed him in the presence of his wife and very young children, bundled him into a waiting vehicle and took him away.
“Torughedi is already malnourished and weak, no thanks to his long incar- ceration without an end in sight. We are not oblivious of the fact that a man who is underfed, his movement restrained and is denied good oxygen at regular intervals, is like a sitting duck to any opportunistic infection. It becomes more worrisome, when such environment is co-habited with people with a manifested history of an infectious ailment, such as tuberculosis. This is the situation and condition Torughedi is immersed in today.
“Torughedi is locked up in an underground cell that houses almost 35 inmates, without a window or any other form of ventilation, except an air conditioner that works for 24 hours subject to availability of power”, the letter stated. To worsen the situation, Uchegbulam said that two of the inmates cough incessantly, throughout the day and even at night.
He added that one of them, according to information, was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis, before he was arrested some months ago, and thrown into the common cell where a majority of the inmates including Torughedi live. The letter further stated that “Piqued by the continu- ous breach of our client’s rights, under part 1, chapter 1 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, we filed a suit at the Abuja Federal High Court for the Enforcement of Mr. Torughedi’s Funda- mental Human Rights, first amongst all our demands is his release from DSS detention. He stated that judgement was delivered in favour of his client, “It will interest you to note that all parties including the DSS, were represented by their various counsels. Matters were argued and the court gave Judgement in Torughedi’s favour”.
Also in the letter, Torughedi’s counsel, Uchegbulam, claimed that he had written to the National Human Rights Commission without any useful feedback, adding that “all we got was an acknowledgement letter, and no other action has been taken, while Torughedi continues to waste away in the DSS dungeon. “Sir, Nigeria is a signa- tory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights Ratifications and Enforcement Act, 1981.
“Article 5 of the charter states inter alia…Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recogni- tion of his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man, particularly slavery, torture, cruel, inhumane degrading punishment and treatment, shall be prohibited. “From all indications, the actions of the DSS against Selky Torughedi, is an infringement of the charter and a repudiation of the agreement entered into by the Nigerian government”, the lawyer stated. The letter ended with this plea “Sir, we are writing this letter to your good offices, to intervene in this blatant human rights abuse by the Nigerian Secret Police, before our client dies in DSS detention”.