DSS Blindfolded, Held Me Incommunicado For Two Years – Freed Journalist


A journalist and publisher of Weekly Source, a local tabloid based in  Bayelsa State, Mr Jones Abiri, on Tuesday, returned to Yenagoa, the state capital, and relived his ordeal in the hands of the Department for State Services.

Abiri, who was received at the Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists by journalists and leaders of the Civil Liberties Organisation, said he was arrested in his office, detained for seven days in DSS cell in Yenagoa and later blindfolded and flown to Abuja.

He said he was kept incommunicado in an underground DSS cell in Abuja and denied access to medical treatment for about two years.

Abiri, who was also received by his wife and family members, said the hope that God would grant him freedom someday kept him alive throughout the period of his detention.

Abiri stated, “Precisely, l was arrested on July 21, 2016, in my office at about 3:23 pm. About 12 armed men came to my office and they came with a document, a search warrant that my office was under investigation.

“When l perused the search warrant, l saw that it was signed by one Magistrate Lucky. I allowed them and they searched my office. At the end of the search, they found nothing. They handcuffed me, took my phones, laptops and other things. Things unconnected to my arrest were also taken. All my pay slips, banking information were taken.

“They whisked me away to the state command. I gave my statement and after spending seven days in Yenagoa, they took me to Abuja. Initially, l didn’t know where l was going. My eyes were blindfolded. Since that time, l have not been given the grace and the opportunity to see my wife, my children, sisters, brothers and friends.

“My lawyers were denied access to me. I was in an underground cell, where when the light went off, you would not see the next person. I was also denied medical attention. I thank God that the CLO and other rights organisations took up the matter and today, l am out of detention.

“If not because of the voice of the media and the CLO, DSS wouldn’t have taken me to court. I was given one count charge that l sent threat messages to Agip Nigeria Limited and Shell Petroleum Development Company demanding money.

“But l said l knew nothing about that because l had no connection with oil companies.”