The Council of Arewa Chiefs in southern Nigeria yesterday protested the continued detention of Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos and the Chairman of the Council, Alhaji Aminu Yaro, by the Department of State Services (DSS).
It was learnt that the secret police had invited Yaro for interrogation in connection with the ongoing investigation of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. The monarch, after three days, has remained in the custody of the secret police.
The council chiefs in a statement signed by Jarman of Lagos, Yarima Shettima, demanded immediate and unconditional release of their leader and his wife.
They described their detention as unlawful, asking the DSS to grant them immediate access to legal representation, medical attention and family members.
“The attention of the Council of Arewa Chiefs, Lagos State has been drawn to the unexplained detention of the Sarkin Hausawa of Lagos and Chairman of the Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Aminu Idris Yaro with his wife by the Department of State Services (DSS).
“We note also that the Sarkin Hausawa has been held by the DSS incommunicado for the last three days following what initially was a routine invitation which he dutifully honoured.
“The Council of Arewa Chiefs also understands that Sarkin Hausawa is being held in connection with the ongoing investigation of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
“The Council is not unaware of the friendship relationship between Sarkin Hausawa and Mr Godwin Emefiele just the way Emefiele is friends with many other chiefs and dignitaries all over the country and around the globe.
“What is regrettable is, however, the unexplained connection of a friend with the ongoing investigation of Mr Emefiele who till this moment, as far as the public is concerned, is only being accused of possession of unlicensed firearms.
“The council is concerned that the DSS might typically be used to hunt down respected leaders of the community using terrorism fight as a smoke screen,” the statement partly read.
Shettima said while the council was not challenging the power of the DSS and any security service in the country to invite any person for any of its investigations, the detention of the Yaro beyond 24 hours as stipulated in the law by the DSS, is “repugnant to the sensibilities of the traditional rulership system, the Arewa community and the Council of Chiefs.”
He suggested that the DSS should present him before a competent court of law rather than holding him indefinitely without any trial.
Contacted last night, the spokesman of the DSS, Peter Afunanya, neither confirmed nor denied Yaro’s detention with his wife.
He simply told one of our correspondents, “No comments please”.
By Idowu Isamotu (Abuja) & Abbas Dalibi (Lagos)