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Suswam withdraws N10bn suit against DSS



Former Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam
Former Benue Governor, Suswam battle for freedom

By Wandoo Sombo

The ex-governor of Benue, Gabriel Suswam, has withdrawn the fundamental human rights suit he instituted against the Department of State Services (DSS) seeking an order of unconditional release from detention.

Suswam had also asked the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to order the DSS to award him N10 billion as compensation for unlawful incarceration and violation of his rights.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, counsel to Suswam, Mr Joseph Daudu (SAN), told the court that his client had no further intention of continuing the suit.

Daudu maintained that although Suswam’s doctor had placed him on strict bed rest, he reluctantly released him to appear in court to validate his claim of ill health.

“The applicant was just released on Sunday after over 70 days in detention and he visited his consultant cardiologist and was given a document showing that he should be on strict bed rest.

“In view of the fact that he was released based on his health, he needs time to get his health back to be able to stand trial.

“We, however, apply to withdraw the application since he has been released,” Daudu said.

State counsel, Mr Terhemba Agbe, said the DSS was not opposed to the application since an applicant had a right to proceed with an application or to withdraw it.

In a short ruling, Justice Gabriel Kolawale, said that based on the oral application made by Suswam’s counsel to withdraw the suit, the application was granted and he accordingly, struck out the suit.

Suswam had been in DSS custody since Feb. 25 over allegation of possession of firearm found inside the boot of his car.

The DSS had prayed the court not to release Suswam owing to his alleged connection to the militant group that attacked Zaki Biam, a town in Benue.

The DSS also stated that security report from Benue government alleged that the state would be ungovernable if Suswam was released.

The court however released the former governor on May 7, on self-recognition.

Suswam and his former commissioner for finance, Mr Omadachi Oklobia are standing trial for allegedly diverting about N3.1 billion belonging to the government of Benue.

They are also being tried for alleged money laundering and breach of public trust while in office.

The Federal Government had on Jan. 25, asked the court to adjourn sine die, fresh N7 billion criminal charges filed against Suswam by the office of the Inspector-General of Police.

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