“I have never seen a situation where someone writes a petition to the Police seeking redress over a matter and the military abducts the petitioner and hold him against his will to withdraw the petition in question. Sadly, even the Police seem helpless,” one of Dikwa’s family members said.
The Special Task Force (STF) in Jos, Plateau State have “beaten, humiliated and detained” a prominent businessman, Suleiman Mohammad Dikwa, alongside his lawyer, one Felix Pukuma, over allegations of writing a petition against one Filis Arinze.
The duo were arrested on December 21, 2018. The lawyer, who was also assaulted, but freed after being briefly detained, was later invited by the military to prevail on his client to discontinue the petition against Ms Arinze, as condition for his release.
In a document seen by SaharaReporters, the lawyer stated: “I, Felix Musa Pukuma, ESQ hereby testify that on this day 21/12/2018 at 11.30am, I was arrested alongside my Client, Mr. Suleiman Mohammed Dikwa, in Jos by the JTF military personnel. We were beaten, humiliated, dehumanized, handcuffed and bundled into their Hilux Van and taken to STF Headquarters, Jos, for an offence that, according to my Client’s instructions, I had already filed a petition against one Miss Fillis at the Police Area Command, Jos. Dikwa is still in military detention for failing to agree to withdraw this petition against the lady whom he accused of being a serial blackmailer”.
Pukuma also stated that they have decided to write a petition to the Chief of Army Staff and, subsequently, file a case in the court, “suing the military for this unimaginable impunity and lawlessness” against himself and his client.
“We were duly informed that the lady in question has the backing of a military general, who has ordered the continued detention of Dikwa until he backs down,” said the lawyer.
“I have never seen a situation where someone writes a petition to the Police seeking redress over a matter and the military abducts the petitioner and hold him against his will to withdraw the petition in question. Sadly, even the Police seem helpless,” said one of Dikwa’s family members.
The family member continued: “This is happening at a time the Nigerian military is facing accusations of human rights abuses by Amnesty International and other NGOs in Nigeria. They are holding our relative at gunpoint, as if he is a criminal for writing a petition against a fellow citizen to the Police. We are not saying he innocent or the lady is guilty,” said a family member of Dikwa, adding that, “why would a lady report a lawyer and client to the military for writing a petition to the Police. Why won’t she go to the same Police to clear her name? What is she afraid of?”
Dikwa has remained in custody for five days now without being charged as at the time of filing this report. All efforts to secure his release have been unsuccessful, according to his friends, family and neighbours in Jos.
“We fear for his life, because we have heard reports of people allegedly being arrested and detained by the military and are never seen again,” the family member added.