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Lawyer ‘detained by DSS for 3 years for terrorism’ regains freedom

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has secured the release of Pius Awoke, a Nigerian lawyer, who has reportedly been in custody of the Department of States Services (DSS) since 2021.

In a statement by Akorede Lawal, NBA spokesperson, Awoke was arrested alongside Onyiba Chinonso, his cousin, on allegations of terrorism. 

He said Yakubu Maikyau, president of the NBA, facilitated their release on June 21 from the custody of the DSS

“The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN has secured the release of Pius I. Awoke Esq of Abakaliki Branch of the NBA from the Department of State Security (DSS),” the statement reads.

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“The present NBA leadership got to know of the arrest and detention of Mr. Awoke by the DSS since 2021 on an allegation of terrorism some few weeks ago. Through the concerted efforts of the NBA leadership, Mr. Awoke was released alongside his cousin, one Onyiba Emmanuel Chinonso, a final year student of computer studies at the Ebonyi State University who was arrested and detained with Mr. Awoke since 2021.

“While the NBA is relieved that Mr. Awoke has regained his freedom, the NBA is committed to interrogating the circumstances that led to his arrest and detention for such a long period without arraignment. 

“The NBA decries incidents of long detention of citizens without charge by law enforcement agencies as a breach of citizens’ fundamental right to fair hearing and personal liberty, and we reiterate our commitment to the protection of these fundamental rights.”

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Awoke appreciated the leadership of NBA for facilitating his release.

“I was left with no hope. I only hoped in God. I did not know that the NBA was taking any steps to get me out. The NBA has not just secured the release of a lawyer, but you have saved the life of a lawyer,” he said.

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