Lawyer to Mr Antony Okolie, Tope Akinyode has vowed that the ‘illegal’ detention of his client by the Department of State Security for ten weeks for owning a SIM number formerly owned by President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hanan, would be challenged in court.
“We have concluded plans to file a lawsuit against Hanan Buhari, SSS, and MTN Nigeria and the lawsuit shall be filed shortly. We shall not allow lawlessness to thrive”, Akinyode told Sahara Repoters in an interview recently.
The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) however noted that contradictory reports have arisen in case of the man who was detained by DSS for owning Hanan Buhari‘s SIM card.
The centre observed that several reports have been released concerning the detention of one Anthony Okolie by Department of State Services (DSS), for possessing the formerly-owned SIM card of President Buhari’s daughter, Hanan, all of which raise questions about the true nature of events.
Okolie who hails from Asaba, Delta state, first spoke to the Punch in an interview, where he narrated his ordeal with the DSS.
According to him, he was picked up from his hometown in Asaba while he was attending a business meeting, after which he was whisked to Abuja and asked to explain how he came in possession of his SIM card, which they revealed formerly belonged to Hanan.
Punch reports that Okolie told the DSS that he purchased the SIM card from a legitimate source and noticed that he got calls and messages from strangers but never responded except when he had to mention that they had reached the wrong person.
The businessman said that his statement did nothing for him as the DSS went ahead to detain him for 10 weeks while awaiting the president’s daughter to clarify issues.
The clarification never came and the DSS finally released Okolie, who claimed that he was forced to sign a document stopping him from suing the state security for the illegal detention and was also given back the SIM card that got him into problem.
Okolie’s case came to light after his release, and many Nigerians went to social media to slam the DSS and the presidency for meting out such treatment to a citizen.
On sunday, new details about Okolie surfaced. Vanguard reported that the businessman confessed in an ‘exclusively sighted document’ that he used the SIM card and phone number for fraudulent activities and that was the reason he was picked up by the DSS — a direct contrast from the narrative earlier reported in the Punch.
Bashir Ahmad, Personal Assistant (PA) on new media to President Buhari, in a tweet also accused Okolie of committing a crime by quoting Vanguard’s report. His tweet, embedded with a link read; “Okolie ran into trouble with security agencies after he started posing as a woman and pretending as if he was Buhari’s daughter and original owner of the SIM all in a bid to curry favour from unsuspecting members of the public, Vanguard investigation shows.”
While the Vanguard’s report noted that Okolie confessed in an ‘exclusively sighted document,’ another media organisation, Sahara Reporters, revealed a different view when it spoke in an interview with Okolie’s lawyer.
According to Sahara Reporter, Okolie’s legal representative, Tope Akinyode, claimed that attempts were being made to defame the character of the businessman and in response, moves are being made to take the matter to court in order to get justice.
Akinyode’s statement to SR reads: “We make bold to state that if it were true indeed that our client actually perpetrated fraud, it would have been illegal, immoral and outrageously insensitive for the SSS not to have charged him to court.”
“The refusal to charge him to court is due to the fact that there is absolutely no case against him because he has not committed any offence.”
“We are sorry for the newspaper for deliberately shattering its own integrity by such a distasteful publication.