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A Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State, on Thursday, slammed a N10 million fine against the State Security Service (SSS) over a sim card controversy lawsuit involving President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter.

Hanan Buhari, the SSS and telecoms firm, MTN, were sued for human rights abuse by Anthony Okolie, a man detained for 10 weeks over the use of a sim card previously used by the president’s daughter.

Mr Okolie, through his lawyer, Tope Akinyode, had demanded N500 million “as general and aggravated damages for the gross and unlawful violation of the applicant’s right to acquire moveable properties, freedom of movement and self dignity.”

Legal tussle

PREMIUM TIMES reported how Hanan’s lawyer, M.E. Sheriff, in a counter affidavit argued that although the MTN sim card which caused the dispute was once used by her “but she did not order the SSS to arrest Mr Okolie.”

The SSS, in a 35-paragraph affidavit, signed by its official, S.M. Kayode, however, said it received an official letter of instruction from the presidency dated July 5, 2019, upon which it acted.

The matter was earlier scheduled for judgement before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba on March 3 but could not hold due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Ruling

On Thursday when the matter came up, Justice Dimgba awarded the sum of N10 million against SSS for the abuse of Mr Okolie’s fundamental human rights.

He, however, said that there is no substantial evidence again Hanan and MTN.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES after the matter, Mr Okolie through his lawyer, Mr Akinyode said: “As far as we are concerned, it is a good judgement for democracy. It is a symbolism of judgement for the masses. The monetary sum does not matter to us.

“We are not particular about the money, we are happy to establish that the SSS is a lawless security outfit.”

Speaking on exemption of punitive measures for Hanan and MTN, the lawyer said: “The judge said there are no substantial evidence to nail them and we will be challenging this. We have evidence and they were not challenged (this). The court should rely on it as truth because they are not controverted.”

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