Ekiti traditionalist speaks after 6-month detention by DSS for “preparing charms” for Igboho, IPOB

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An Ekiti-based traditionalist, Dada Ifasooto, has recounted how he was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and detained for six months for preparing charms for embattled Yoruba Nation activist, Chief Sunday Igboho and proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), allegations that turned out false.

“They accused me of preparing charms for Chief Sunday Igboho, which is not true. I did not prepare any charm for him. I have not met him before. They also asked me whether I had been to Imo State and I said I had not been to Imo or anywhere in the South-East. The officers then accused me of making charms for IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) but I told them that was not true as I had never been in contact with them,” Sunday Punch quoted him to have said.

Explaining how he got arrested, the 29-year-old Amotekun volunteer said, “There is a young man called Tajudeen (Irinloye) whom I have known for some time.

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“He is a commercial motorcycle rider in Ibadan and he had come to me for treatment for an ailment.

“I called him thereafter to follow up on the treatment plan that I gave to him but unknown to me, he is an aide of Chief Igboho and the DSS had arrested him and some other aides during the widely-reported night raid of July 1, 2021.

“When I phoned him, his line rang out and he didn’t call back, which was strange to me. I never knew he was in the DSS custody. The next thing I saw was that on July 16, 2021, four fully-armed men in mufti stormed my sitting room in Ikere Ekiti around 6pm. They scattered everywhere, asking me where my android phone was. After I gave them my phone, they told me I called a commercial motorcycle rider in Ibadan. They said he (Tajudeen) had been detained and they had come to arrest me. They searched my apartment asking if I had a gun but I told them I do not own one. I asked them to show me their search and arrest warrants but they could not provide any.”

He explained that the DSS team of eight stormed his home in two Toyota Hilux vehicles although only four operatives entered his sitting room.

He said that his house was turned upside down but the operatives did not find anything incriminating.

“They took some of my divination tools. One of the four men said they should start leaving but another fellow shut him up and insisted that they must arrest me. I told them I had not committed any offence to warrant being arrested.

“They were speaking Yoruba language till that point but the four of them switched to Hausa language immediately and discussed for minutes. I didn’t understand what they discussed afterwards because the language they spoke was Hausa.”

He said that they initially told him they would be taking him to the Ikere Police Station but along the way whisked him to the DSS office in Ibadan.

“I insisted that I was not going to follow them but they said I only needed to come to the station to sign a document that nothing incriminating was found in my house after the search,” Ifasooto said.

He said he agreed to follow them “but to my surprise, they didn’t take me to the police station but went straight to the DSS office in Ibadan. In Ibadan, I resisted them, saying I would not go in until they tell me my offence because I am an easygoing person. In fact, I have not attended any protest or rally before but they took off my clothes, left me with only boxers and pushed me into a cell.”

Explaining how he was moved from Ibadan to Abuja, Ifasooto said, “On July 18, 2021, which was a Sunday. Very early that morning, the DSS operatives told me to freshen up and I did. They gave me back my clothes and handcuffed me.

“They told me I would be taken to Abuja and I told them again that I had not committed any offence by phoning someone who is my customer.

“They told me to cooperate, saying they were the ones that arrested my boss. I asked them which boss? They didn’t respond till we got to Abuja that same day.”

He recalled how a DSS official that interrogated him in Abuja mocked him.

“A DSS official interrogated me when I arrived in Abuja. He asked whether any herbalist followed those who came for my arrest and I told him I don’t know.

“The official then informed me that the same people who arrested my boss, Chief Sunday Igboho, who turned to cats, were the ones who also came for me. I told him Chief Sunday Igboho was not my boss and I had never met him before. He mockingly told me to disappear then that I had been handcuffed and I told him I don’t know what he was talking about.

“I told him I can’t vanish because I am not a criminal. He shut me up and locked me up. I was locked up for the first three months and nearly forgotten there. I was pained because I did not commit any offence and did not deserve the treatment.

“I developed ulcer and high blood pressure in DSS custody after three months. On October 10, 2021, I was taken to a hospital and I wasn’t taken back there. On November 10, 2021, I was taken out of the cell to write down a statement and was immediately returned to the cell.”

He said he was locked up with 12 Hausa/Fulani suspects accused of being Boko Haram members.

“I was eventually released on December 24, 2021 and the DSS operatives told me to be grateful to the lawyer and to their own investigation which showed that I am an innocent man.

“I was warned to be mindful of my activities going forward so as not to return to their custody. It is painful to be unjustly detained for six months but I thank God that I didn’t spend this year’s Christmas in DSS custody.

“The DSS should carry out proper investigation before arresting people,” Ifasooto said.

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