By Kayode Sesan, Yemi Adebowale
New facts emerged Monday on the ordeal of Austin Okojie, the Akwa Ibom Resident Electoral Commissioner while in the custody of the DSS.
Mr. Okojie was arrested two weeks ago, detained and tortured by the DSS, who only released him Saturday after 13 days in detention. He has been asked to report daily to the DSS office for further interrogation.
BREAKING TIMES gathered that Okojie could barely walk or speak upon his release after being serially brutalized by the DSS. “They were interrogating him about his relationship with the PDP in Akwa-Ibom State and former Governor Akpabio. He was tied to a chair for 13 days and tortured to confess that he connived with PDP to rig the elections. At the time they released him, he could barely even talk or stand well”, a family source who pleaded anonymity spoke to BREAKING TIMES on Sunday.
“The desperation by the DSS to get Okojie to indict former Governor Akpabio of Akwa-Ibom State and the PDP in Akwa-Ibom State may have forced them to employ drastic measures in securing a confession from Okojie”, an informed security source told BREAKING TIMES on Monday. Okojie, it was gathered, however stood his grounds refusing to grant false evidence during the DSS interrogation.
Okojie was only released after severe pressure from the PDP and civil society advocates. A group under the auspices of the Public Interest Lawyers League had accused the DSS of unduly harassing the Akwa-Ibom Resident Electoral Commissioner.
Since May 29, 2015, the DSS under President Muhammadu Buhari has quickly earned a public reputation as the secret police machine of the ruling APC government used to harass and intimidate the opposition and perceived enemies of Buhari’s government.
Recently, the Abuja and Sokoto residences of the National Security Adviser under former President Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) was invaded by officials of the DSS on trumped up suspicions that he was a “security risk”. After they spent several days ransacking his house, the DSS made a discovery of a few luxury cars and about 7 assault rifles in his residence.
The Chief Security Officer to former President Jonathan, Mr. Gordon Obua was not so lucky. He was arrested and detained by the DSS while being denied access to his lawyers and doctors. News of a frail and weak Obua’s possible death in the hands of the DSS forced the DSS to publicly produce him alive and immediately released him from their custody without charges.
In a similar vein, an informed security source disclosed to BREAKING TIMES on Sunday that election petitions tribunal judges in Akwa-Ibom State are being summoned to the DSS office on President Buhari’s orders at odd hours of the night with the aim of compromising the outcome of the tribunal rulings in favour of the ruling APC party. This is coming after the Akwa-Ibom election petitions tribunal was brazenly and surreptitiously moved from Akwa Ibom to Abuja, interfering with the independence of the process.
Akwa-Ibom State is considered extremely attractive by political power-blocs based on its huge oil revenue allocations from the Federation account, hence the usual desperation between the PDP and APC in the battle to win the state. “The APC’s desperation for power has made them to reject the electoral results from the oil rich States like Akwa-Ibom and Rivers considering the revenue that these States generate”, the PDP recently insinuated in reaction to its perceived moves by the APC to compromise the process. But the APC has quickly dismissed the claim citing mass irregularities and INEC complicity and compromise in the outcome of the elections in those states.
In the Akwa Ibom State gubernatorial elections, Mr Udom Emmanuel of the PDP scored 996, 071 votes to defeat his APC opponent, Umana Umana who polled a paltry 89, 865 votes.