The Middle Belt Renaissance, a political pressure group, on Tuesday, urged the Department of State Services (DSS) to charge former governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam, to court or release him unconditionally.
Suswam, who is currently standing trial for alleged diversion of funds and money-laundering, was arrested by operatives of the security agency on Thursday and has been in detention.
An a news conference in Abuja, President-General of the group, Mr King Onoja, said that detaining Suswam without telling him the reasons for his arrest was a breach on his fundamental human rights.
Onoja also said that the action of the DSS was a threat to the foundation on which democracy, justice and fair play were hinged.
He alleged that the former governor’s arrest and detention constituted attempt to silence some politicians.
He said that though DSS had not disclosed reason for Suswam’s arrest, “we have become aware that his detention is connected to a petition alleging that he is harbouring Terwase Agwaza (a.k.a Gana), a wanted fugitive.
“We see these allegations as a ploy to distract the people of Benue and indeed, Nigerians from the insecurity in the state.
“We make bold to remind the DSS that it is set up and run by public funds to serve the interest of the generality of the people and not to demonstrate its allegiance to the government of the day.”
Onoja also called on the security agency to grant Suswam access to his lawyers as well as inform him of the reasons for his arrest as provided in Section 36 of the Constitution.
“Anything less will reveal his arrest and detention as politically motivated,” he said.
Suswam is being tried in two separate courts, one on a 32-count charge bordering on conspiracy and diversion of public funds to the tune of N9.7 billion.
The second is a nine-count charge also concerning money-laundering to the tune of N3.1 billion, NAN reports.