Five youths detained by the Department of State Services for wearing a # BuhariMustGo T-shirt at Dunamis Gospel Church, Abuja, have instituted suits at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the secret police, and the Senior Pastor of the church, Paul Enenche.
In separate suits, the applicants – Henry Nwodo, Victor Udoka, Emmanuel Larry, Samuel Gabriel and Ben Manasseh – are seeking an order of the court restraining the DSS and other respondents in the suits from violating their fundamental right to freedom of religion, right to freedom of expression and the press as guaranteed under sections 35, 38, 39 and 42 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).
The five applicants want the court to protect their right to freedom from discrimination and right to personal liberty guaranteed under Articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 9 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (CAP. A9), Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
They also want their immediate and unconditional release from the custody of the DSS.
The suits are marked FHC/ABJ/CS/631/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/636/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/637/2021, FHC/ABJ/CS/638/2021 and FHC/ABJ/CS/639/
Joining the first and fourth respondents – the DSS and Enenche – in the suits are the DSS Director-General, Yusuf Bichi; and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, as second and third respondents respectively.
Human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who is one of the lawyers representing the youths, was subsequently barred from seeing the youths when he visited the DSS headquarters during the week.
In a statement earlier on Wednesday, the church said it had no hand in the arrest of the five youths, adding that it was undercover DSS officials at the church that did so but human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, who met with Enenche earlier in the week, had called for the release of the five youths.