Onimisi Ciaxon a.k.a Isiaka Yusuf, aged 32, a member of staff of PHCN who
worked at the T-junction by State House Gate-7 has been declared missing for
over 10 days now. He is alleged to have been arrested by members of the
Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) after posting pictures on twitter, of the
gun battle between Nigerian security agencies and suspected Boko Haram members
on March 30, 2014 in Abuja. There has been a wide media appeal to the SSS about
the whereabouts of Ciaxon but nothing has been heard. You can read the news
reports HERE. No one
knows where Ciaxon is at the moment but it’s safe to assume that he is in the
custody of the Secret Service, witnesses identified him and reported that he
was handed over to a security team, read the news article HERE
If really Ciaxon is with the SSS or any other security agency,

then the
fundamental rights of this gentleman at this point are currently being
breached. Every Nigerian by virtue of Section 39 (1) of the Constitution is entitled
to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and
impart ideas and information without interference. Ciaxon on duty at work that
morning came upon the gun battle happening close to the Aso Villa, took
pictures with his camera and imparted the information on twitter, I do not
believe at that point it occurred to him that he might be committing a crime
because his fundamental rights entitle him to do such.

 An exemption to the Freedom of Speech rule as seen in subsection
(3)(b) is if the alleged actions imposes restrictions upon persons holding
office under the Government of the Federation or of a State, members of the
armed forces of the Federation or members of the Nigeria Police Force or other
Government security services or agencies established by law. Will you say
Ciaxon’s actions have imposed any of these restrictions, I doubt.
Assuming the SSS raises the “national security or terrorism” card in
support of Ciaxon’s unlawful detention, it will not support their case either.
A jail break as reported by the SSS to be the underlying cause of the gun
battle that morning hardly falls under the category of a terrorist act.
Moreover, Section 28 of the Terrorist prevention law (2011) which deals with “detention
for offences related to terrorism” provides thatwhere a person is
arrested under reasonable suspicion of having committed any offence under
sections 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13 or 14, the National Security Adviser
or Inspector General of Police or a delegated officer not below the rank of
Chief Superintendent of Police or its equivalent may, subject to this section,
direct that the person arrested be detained in a custody for a period not exceeding 24 hours (highlight
supplied) from his arrest, without having access to any person other than his
Medical Doctor and legal counsel of the detaining agency.
By virtue of Section 35 Of the Constitution “Every person shall be
entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such
liberty save in some exceptions which Ciaxon does not come under, such as –
(a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a
criminal offence of which he has been found guilty; or (b) by reason of his
failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the
fulfilment of any obligation imposed upon him by law; or (c) for the purpose of
bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon
reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such
extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal

Provided that a person who is charged with an offence and who has been
detained in lawful custody awaiting trial shall not continue to be kept in such
detention for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment
prescribed for the offence. 

More so, the law further states that “Any person who is arrested or
detained shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question
until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his
own choice. 
Subsection (3) states “Any person who is arrested or detained shall be
informed in writing within twenty-four hours (and in a language that he
understands) of the facts and grounds for his arrest or detention.” 
Subsection (4) states “Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection
(1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a
reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of – 
(a) two months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a
person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail; or
(b) three months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of
a person who has been released on bail, he shall (without prejudice to any
further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either
unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure
that he appears for trial at a later date. 
Subsection (5) states “In subsection (4) of this section, the expression “a reasonable
time” means –
(a) in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a
court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometres, a period
of one day; and
(b) in any other case, a period of two days or such longer period as in
the circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.”
(6) Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled
to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person;
and in this subsection, “the appropriate authority or person” means
an authority or person specified by law.
Ciaxon is also being unlawfully detained against his fundamental right of
fair hearing which is stated in Section 36 of the Constitution. The law
provides that;
“In the determination of his
civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by or
against any government or authority, a person shall be entitled to a fair
hearing within a reasonable time by a court or other tribunal established by
law and constituted in such manner as to secure its independence and
Subsection (4) also provides that
“Whenever any person is charged with a criminal offence, he shall, unless the
charge is withdrawn, be entitled to a fair hearing in public within a
reasonable time by a court or tribunal; while subsection 6 states that “Every
person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be entitled to –
(a) be informed promptly in the
language that he understands and in detail of the nature of the offence;
(b) be given adequate time and
facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) defend himself in person or
by legal practitioners of his own choice;
(d) examine, in person or by his
legal practitioners, the witnesses called by the prosecution before any court
or tribunal and obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witnesses
to testify on his behalf before the court or tribunal on the same conditions as
those applying to the witnesses called by the prosecution; and
(e) have, without payment, the
assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand the language used at the
trial of the offence. 
Adedunmade Onibokun