The new leadership of the Department of State Security (DSS) may have started making good its promise to review cases of all detainees in its custody, according to indications yesterday.
Seven Ijaw youths from Bayelsa State who were arrested two years ago and locked up in the organization’s cell since then were yesterday set free in Yenagoa.
The agency’s newly appointed Acting Director -General, Mr. Mathew Seiyefa, told reporters at his maiden press conference two weeks ago that he would review the cases of detainees with a view to setting free those who are not supposed to be held.
The seven Bayelsa men were brought from the DSS Headquarters in Abuja to Yenagoa at the weekend and released to their families who had gathered outside the agency’s office in the state capital to receive them.
Some of the suspects shed tears of joy in the warm embrace of their friends as they walked into freedom.
The suspects looked unkempt with overgrown beards, rough skin and dirty clothes.
One of them, who identified himself as Clinton Ohaigbofa, said suspects held without trial were being massively released across the country.
He hails from Ebedebiri in Ogbia Local Government Area.
He said they were held in underground cells in Abuja and went through untold hardship.
They were never charged to court, he said.
Narrating how they landed in DSS detention, he said: “We didn’t do anything. We were arrested on May 24th, 2016. We were taken to the JTF headquarters in Opolo and were later transferred to DMI, Abuja.
“After interrogation, we were transferred to Defence Intelligence Agency. On August 26, 2016, we were transferred to the Department of State Service, Abuja. We stayed there for over two years.”
Reliving their ordeals in the DSS cell, he said: “They treated us badly. We were held in an underground cell. They gave us little bread in the morning, little rice in the afternoon and a morsel of semovita in the evening.
“Each portion of food cannot satisfy a two-year old baby. They deprived us of everything. They didn’t even take us to court. There was no freedom to even see light. They subjected us to severe punishment. They kept us hungry and deprived us of medication. Suspects are being released massively because of the new DSS boss. I don’t know the actual number released so far. But we thank the new DSS boss.”