Lagos lawyer, Chief Aloy Chukwuma Ezenduka, has called for the release of a journalist, Mr. Innocent Chidi Nwachukwu, who was reportedly arrested by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) at his Ikotun residence in Lagos on January 14.
In a statement issued by the lawyer, it was alleged that the DSS had disregarded a court order issued on December 30, 2014 by a Federal High Court in Lagos which was presided over by Justice M.N. Yunusa.
The restraining order was served on the DSS on January 5, 2015, to protect the journalist from harassment and unlawful detention pending the hearing of the matter which has been adjourned to February 9, 2015.
However, Nwachukwu’s home was allegedly invaded by men of DSS on January 14, and his office was reportedly vandalised, with many private documents confiscated and his daughters beaten. He has since been arrested and detained.
Prior to his arrest, Nwachukwu, who is also the Editor in Chief of Tentacle Magazine, was said to have published a cover story titled, “20 Threats Against Jonathan’s Re-Election Survey’’ on September 22, 2014 and has since been the target of DSS.
“The DSS is aware of the consequences of disobedience of court orders and it is our belief that in a democratic setting and by the nature of the statutory function of DSS they are expected to lead by example and obey the extant and subsisting orders of the Federal High Court and bring before the court materials that ‘borders on National Security’ which gave as the reason for DSS’s earlier invitation of our client.
“We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Innocent Chidi Nwachukwu by the Department of State Services in obedience to the court order commanding parties to maintain status quo and stay further action pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice, to enforce his fundamental human rights,’’ the lawyer stated.
The lawyer added that failure to release the journalist, who has been moved to Abuja, will lead to further legal action.