Court awards N10m to man detained by DSS for using Buhari’s daughter’s SIM card
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, Delta State, has awarded the sum of N10 million in favour of Anthony Okolie, a businessman detained last year by the DSS for using an MTN SIM card previously used by President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hanan.
Okolie had sued the DSS, claiming that the security agency detained him illegally for 10 weeks over an MTN SIM card he legitimately purchased and registered in accordance with Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) requirements. Added as defendants were the President’s daughter and the telecom giant.
In the suit marked FHC/ASB/CS/3/2020, the plaintiff prayed the court to grant him N500 million in damages against the defendants and order them to issue an apology for his illegal detention.
In his ruling, Justice Dimgba held that the refusal of the DSS to notify the Applicant in writing about the grounds and facts of his arrest, within 24 hours of the arrest, amounted to gross violation of his fundamental human rights under Section 35(3) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
The judge further held that the arrest and detention of the Applicant for 10 weeks between 21st July, 2019 and 22nd September, 2019, without any detention order, was illegal as it violated his right to personal liberty guaranteed by Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The judge awarded N10 million against the First Defendant (DSS) but ruled that the plaintiff failed to establish that either Buhari’s daughter or MTN Nigeria, who were cited as the 2nd and 3rd Respondents in the matter, were in any way involved in circumstances that led to the violation of his fundamental rights.
Also, the judge declined to grant the prayer for apology but issued a perpetual injunction restraining the DSS from further harassing him over the matter.