A retired Customs officer facing criminal trial over alleged unlawful and illegal importation of 661 pump action guns into the country, Mamudu Hassan, on Wednesday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that he was tortured during investigation and interrogation by the Department of State Securities (DSS).
Hassan, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs, informed the trial Judge, Justice Ayotunde Faji, that he was subjected to psychological trauma, during the period he spent with the Department.
He said his legs and hands were always chained while he was blindfolded since he was transfered to the DSS by Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) on March 10, 2017, till when they were charged to court on June 14.
He said the only time the chains and blindfold were removed from him was when he wanted to write statement and the day his lawyer visited him.
Hassan stated this while being led by his lawyer, Yakubu Galadima, during trial-within-trial of the case.
Hassan’s claim are contrary to the evidence of a detective with the Department of State Security (DSS), Jaiye Emmanuel, that none of the accused were chained during interrogation by his agency.
Hassan, his company, Hassan Mamudu Nigeria Limited, alongside Salisu Abdulahi Danjuma, Oscar Orkafor, Donatus Ezebunwa Achinulo and Matthew Okoye, who is said to be at large, before Justice Faji’s court, on charge bordering on illegal importation of fire arms, conspiracy, forgery and altering of documents, offering of graft to government officials and importation of prohibited goods.
They were all charged before the court by Nigeria Customs Services (NCS) on June 14, 2017, on the alleged offences, which according to the prosecutors, Mr. Julius Ajakaiye and Peter Okunrinmodu, are contrary to and punishable under sections 3(6), 1(14)(a)(I) 1(2) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. And section 98(1) (b) of the Criminal Code Act.
At the resumed of the trial-within-trial, on Wednesday, Hassan said, “On March 10, 2017, myself and Osita Okafor, were handed over to DSS, they came with four or five pick-up cars; they separated us. Before then, one of them was standing outside and they (DSS) chained my legs and hands. I was equally blindfolded with black cloth, then I was ordered to enter the pick-up, and I was told to lied down, all the officers had guns with them.
“We were blindfolded from Customs office to DSS office. On arrival at the DSS office, we were told to sit on the floor, and I told them to remove the chain on my legs and hands, and the blindfold but they did not answer me.
“One of the officers asked me if was the owner of the container, I said no, but it was given to me to clear. He told me that by the time he finished with me, I will say the truth.
“They took us to see a doctor at their clinic. The doctor asked us of our medical record, and I told him that I have pile, I am hypertensive, I don’t breath very well, and that I am on medication, with all these, but no medication was given to me, I was left to myself, and I was still blindfolded.”
He said about five men pointed guns at him while writing his statement, and the blindfold was removed but immediately after he finished the statement, he was blindfolded again and chained both on legs and hands and led into a cell.
The matter has been adjourned till May 2, for adopting of written addresses on the trial-within-trial.
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