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DSS, A’Ibom Govt illegally torturing doctor over viral audio, lawyer raises alarm

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Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong has raised alarm saying that the State Security Service [SSS] illegally arrested, detained, and is torturing Citizen Kufre Carter, a TV presenter, on the instigation of the Akwa Ibom State Government over a purported viral audio conversation he had with a medical practitioner

Barrister Effiong disclosed this in a memo made available to ElombahNews on Tuesday.

According to Effiong, SSS Director of Operations, Mr. Uchechukwu Nnatube summoned Mr. Carter over an alleged conversation that he had with a medical practitioner in Akwa Ibom State on the current situation in the state regarding COVID-19.

Constitutional lawyer and human rights activist, Inibehe Effiong

The viral video had claimed that the state’s epidemiologist was sacked because he refused to manipulate the result of Covid19 tests conducted in the state.

Consequently, Carter was arrested and detained, and there are fears he is undergoing torture to produce the said cellphone whose whereabouts has so far remained unknown.

According tom the lawyer, the Director of Operations said that they invaded Carter’s residence to look for his phone but did not find it.

See the memo attached in full below:

On Sunday, 26th April, 2020 our client, Mr. Kufre Carter, received a phone call from Mr. Uchechukwu Nnatube, the Director of Operations of the SSS, Tony Ojukwu and 3 others in Akwa Ibom, who summoned him to report at the SSS Command in Uyo on Monday, 27th April, 2020 over a purported viral audio conversation which he alleged that our client had with a medical practitioner in Akwa Ibom State on the current situation in the state regarding COVID-19.

As law abiding citizens and out of courtesy, we encouraged our client to report to the SSS even though we are aware that Section 37 of the Constitution of the FRN, 1999 (as amended) guarantees citizens the right to privacy, including privacy of telephone conversations.

We are also aware that Section 39 of the Constitution guarantees every citizen the right to freedom of expression.

Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State

Contrary to the right of our client under Section 36 of the Constitution to have and consult with a legal practitioner of his choice during interrogation by security agencies, the SSS in Uyo became agitated the moment our client reported at their Command along with the Deputy Head of Inibehe Effiong Chambers, Mr. Augustine Asuquo.

The said Director of Operations and other officers of the SSS refused to allow our colleague (Mr. Augustine Asuquo) to witness the interrogation of our client. The officers did not only insist that our colleague should leave their premises, they physically escorted him out of the SSS Command.

The Director of Operations later called our colleague on the phone to demand that he should handover the PRIVATE mobile phone of our client to them.

He made it abundantly clear that the SSS must see the phone of our client which he claimed will enable them to extract the record of a purported audio conversation they alleged our client had with a doctor.

They also demanded that our client should furnish them with the phone number of the said doctor. Since their illegal demands were not met, the Director of Operations became more hostile towards us.

I, Inibehe Effiong, personally called Mr. Uchechukwu Nnatube to express concerns over the illegal actions of the SSS towards our client, but he became hostile the moment I told him that it was illegal for the SSS to demand the production of our client’s phone; which is our client’s private property.

The Director of Operations hung-up on me and has refused to pick my calls since then. We reasonably believe that SSS officers are torturing Mr. Carter in their custody in their effort to extract a “confessional statement” from our client.

The SSS is torturing our client for him to handover his private mobile phone to them.

The Director of Operations also told us that they invaded our client’s residence to look for his phone but did not find it.

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