Days after he was released by the Department of State Services after being arrested and detained unlawfully for 10 weeks for using a SIM card previously owned by President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hanan, Anthony Okolie has told SaharaReporters that it has been difficult overcoming thoughts of suicide.
According to the Asaba, Delta State-based young businessman, while people around have tried to cheer him up and make him put the setback behind him, it has been difficult for him not to think of taking his own life going by the crisis his bitter experience at the hands of the DSS had plunged him into.
Apart from currently battling with a N5m debt and having a sick mother to attend to, being jilted by his fiancée with whom he was planning marriage with had combined to aggravate his worry and make his life a living hell.
Persons, who invested in a fish farm scheme that he had set up before his arrest have been on his neck to pay back their money following the collapse of the business while he was in detention.
Every area of Okolie’s life had not been the same since his traumatising experience at the facility of DSS in Abuja.
“Each time I receive calls from any of the persons who invested in the fish farm, I feel like committing suicide because I have no means of paying the debt government put me into,” the young man said while speaking with our correspondent.
“I'm currently owing people lots of money, over N5m that people invested into the fish farm that perished while I was unlawfully arrested and detained.
“After the first few weeks in detention, I felt like committing suicide but there was no means for me to do that.
“I have been having emotional trauma and nightmares ever since the incident occurred.
“My mum became very ill and hypertensive as a result of my ordeal and she is in a very bad state now because I can no longer afford to purchase her drugs after my fish farm collapsed.
“My fiancée left me on grounds that she cannot marry a criminal even though we were already planning marriage before the incident,” he added painfully.
Narrating how he was bundled and ferried to Abuja by DSS operatives in leg and hand chains after being told that President Buhari wanted to see him, Okolie disclosed that he was subjected to all sorts of horrible treatment for committing no offence.
He told SaharaReporters that the SIM card in question was purchased by him in Asaba from an MTN outlet for N2,000, adding that he never committed any fraudulent act with it since December 2018 when he bought it.
Okolie said that though there were times he received strange calls on the mobile telephone number, he always told such persons that they were speaking with him and not President Buhari’s daughter, Hanan – the previous user of the number before it was recycled for sale by the network provider.
According to him, nobody from government had so far apologised to him despite the infringement of his rights and loss of his investment and main source of livelihood.
“I was seized like a criminal and subjected to threats by DSS officers and transferred to Abuja, chained in the legs and handcuffed from Asaba to their headquarters.
“After my statement, I abandoned in custody. They said I was making use of a SIM card previously used by Hanan Buhari, that I am a criminal and that the President wanted to see me.
“I bought the SIM card legally and committed no offence by so doing. It was however, surprising to see myself being detained for 10 weeks.
“I really regret being a Nigerian because in other countries, citizens cannot be unlawfully arrested and detained for 10 weeks without any concrete reason.
“I've switched off the lie ever since that bizarre incident because I'm still scared and don't know what their next plan may be,” Okolie said.
SaharaReporters had on January 6 exclusively reported the young businessman’s ordeal, revealing how his rights had been abused by the secret police.
Human rights activists, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, who were both unlawfully held by the DSS for months, brought Okolie’s plight to the attention of the world in separate posts on Twitter.
Following the report, Nigerians from far and near have continued to demand justice for Okolie and an apology from the DSS.
Legal practitioner, Tope Akinyode, has said that they will take up the matter and ensure the businessman is compensated for being unlawfully detained by the secret police.
He said, “In line with my discussion with Mr Okolie, we shall proceed to court to file a suit against the DSS and Hanan Buhari, demanding compensation for the breach of the victim's fundamental human rights.”