Nigeria’s secret police, SSS, ‘disappointed’ with Court judgment in favour of Sanusi, vows to appeal

The agency alleged that the CBN governor was aiding terrorists.

The State Security Service, SSS, has expressed its “disappointment and dissatisfaction” with Thursday’s judgment of the Federal High Court, Lagos, restraining it from further harassment of Lamido Sanusi, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In a statement in Abuja, Friday, the SSS said that it would appeal the judgment because it had acted under the law in detaining Mr. Sanusi and seizing his international passport.

“It is therefore necessary to state that in impounding the passport of Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Service acted in accordance with the law,”  Marilyn Ogar, the Spokesperson of the SSS said in the statement..

In a landmark judgment on Thursday, Justice Buba ordered the federal government, the Nigerian police, and the SSS, to issue a public apology as well as pay N50million in damages to Mr. Sanusi.

The judge also ordered them to restrain from arresting Mr. Sanusi and immediately release his international passport, unlawfully seized from him in February.

Delivering a judgment in a suit filed by Mr. Sanusi seeking an order restraining the police and the SSS from infringing on his fundamental rights, the judge also dismissed the SSS’ allegations that the suspended CBN boss was financing terrorism.

But Ms. Ogar described the judgment as erroneous.

“For the avoidance of doubt, section 3 (2) (b) of Instrument SSS No. 1 of 1999 made pursuant to section 6 of the National Security Agencies Act, provides as follows:

“The State Security Service is hereby empowered to impound and keep in its custody the passports or any other property of persons or organisations under investigation if considered appropriate by the Director General.

“Returns of all such seizures shall be rendered to the National Security Adviser, while such passports shall be returned to the Owners as soon as the investigation is concluded”.

Mr. Sanusi was attending a meeting of central bank governors of the West African sub-region in Niger Republic, in February, when President Goodluck Jonathan announced his suspension over allegations of financial recklessness.

Shortly after his arrival from the meeting in Lagos, the SSS had swooped on Mr. Sanusi and confiscated his international passport and other travelling documents.

The agency had hinged its decision on allegations that the CBN governor was aiding terrorists.

While the judge, on Thursday, accused the Nigerian government and the SSS of presenting conflicting statement in their arguments, showing that they had “acted in bad faith;” he noted that the Nigerian police were frugal by stating that they had not been briefed by anyone to investigate or arrest Mr. Sanusi.

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