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I was detained underground as a high-profile suspect- Abiri + VIDEO

A journalist who recently regained freedom from the Department of State Services (DSS), Jones Abiri, has narrated his experience in the agency’s detention facility for…

A journalist who recently regained freedom from the Department of State Services (DSS), Jones Abiri, has narrated his experience in the agency’s detention facility for two years.

Abiri, who was detained between July 21, 2016 and August 16, 2018, was brought to court and granted bail recently following public outcry over his prolonged detention.

The journalist, who is the publisher of the Bayelsa State-based Weekly Source, came to the Daily Trust headquarters in Abuja on Monday to show appreciation for the support he received from the company during his ordeal.

He said he was blindfolded, beaten with metal object and was held in an underground facility where he slept on bare floor and later papers, with poor feeding and medical attention for two years. He said he shared the cell room of about 12×12 with 26 other suspects.

The journalist, who said that he was suspected to be the leader of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), which have been linked to threatening the AGIP oil company in the Niger Delta, said he was not allowed to see his family and friends for the two years.

While calling for reforms in the operations of DSS to make it conform to the rule of law and respect for human rights, he said he met many suspected members of Ombatse, Niger Delta, MASSOB, IPOB, and Boko Haram in the cells, who are yet to be charged for any offence.

“The DSS has constituted themselves as court of law, which is very bad. If you know anybody has committed an offence, after your investigation then take them to court,” he said. He noted that he has filed a N200m suit against the DSS through his lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN).  

He thanked Nigerian journalists and the public for their support that led to his release, and the goodwill of the society, which sustained his family during the experience.

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