IYC demands justice for youth activist detained by DSS for two yearsPublished on March 13, 2023By Akam James
The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, Worldwide, has called on the Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Inspector General of Police to investigate and discipline officers involved in the arrest and detention of a youth activist, Mr Collins Opumie, for over two years without trial.
In a statement, signed and sent to Bellnewsonline.com on Monday, the national spokesman for the umbrella body, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, alleged that Opumie was abducted in a Gestapo manner from his base in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, and detained in underground facilities shortly after his company was shortlisted among the top three bidding firms for a contract to supply three million litres of diesel monthly by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company in 2016.
Ekerefe also said the IYC would petition the AGIP headquarters in Milan, Italy, over the alleged involvement of some of the staff of the company in the unlawful arrest and detention of the victim.
He said the travails of Opumie, a native of the Opuama Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, started in February 2016 when his bid for a contract was listed among the top three in a monthly supply of three million litres of Automative Gas Oil, AGO, or diesel by a former General-Manager, Nigeria Agip Oil Company, Mr Marco Rotondi, a decision which reportedly did not go down well with some Agip staff.
He alleged that shortly afterwards, Opumie had a phone conversation with the head of security of the company, after which he was abducted by some armed men said to be DSS operatives from the Federal Medical Centre in August 2016.
“He was falsely accused of planning to attack oil pipelines and Agip facilities in Southern Ijaw, and thereafter taken to the Yenagoa cemetery with threats to kill him and bury him in an unidentified grave if he fails to agree to their claim that he sent the company a text threatening to carry out the act,” he stated.
He said the victim was masked and thrown into the booth of a vehicle. Throughout the journey to Abuja, he was denied food and water and bled from his mouth, nose, and ears, and he was subjected to torture and abuse by the DSS operatives and kept in their underground detention facility known as the “Hot Room” for 730 days.
While vowing to petition the Nigeria Agip Oil Company to its headquarters in Italy over the incident, the IYC spokesman urged the Director-General of the DSS and the Inspector General of Police to discipline officers involved.
Meanwhile, Opumie has filed a suit in a Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa over his alleged illegal arrest and detention, demanding N9 billion in damages, praying the court to declare that his arrest, torture and subsequent detention without proper food and medical attention and access to family members for two years is a gross violation of his fundamental rights and dignity as a person.
A hearing on the matter has been slated for Wednesday, March 15, 2023.