The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has admitted reporting a tricycle rider named Lawal Moshood to the Department of State Services after his mobile phone was allegedly used to send a text message to the monarch.
Olawale Bakare widely known as Mandate, who is one of the recently arrested and detained #RevolutionNow protesters in Osogbo released last weekend, said that the DSS operatives did not see the SIM said to have been used to send the message to the monarch yet arrested and had kept him in unlawful detention since that period.
He said the young man had been denied access to a lawyer or his family members since he was picked up from Ijebu-Ode by the secret police.
Confirming knowledge of the young man’s ordeal even though trying to distance himself from it, Oba Ogunwusi, through his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Comrade Moses Olafare, said that Moshood was arrested for impersonating the Ife monarch.
A statement by Olafare on Tuesday said, “You will notice that some women and ladies have been defrauded by some people claiming to be Ooni, promising their victims marriage.
“There was even a recent case of a woman who sold her properties in the United States of America based on an online scammer, who impersonated the Ooni, promising to marry the woman.
“The only thing Ooni can do is to make an official report to the security agents who are constitutionally empowered to initiate investigations where the need arises.”
Findings by SaharaReporters revealed that after thorough scrutiny of the mobile phone of Moshood, who lives in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, the DSS was yet to find anything incriminating to tie him to the said offence.
Already, some civil society groups and human rights campaigners have called for the immediate release of Moshood by the secret police.
It is not the first time that high-profile Nigerians would be using the DSS to intimidate ordinary citizens over claims of impersonation through various guises.
For instance, in July 2019, Hanan, daughter of President Muhammadu Buhari, used her position to get the DSS to arrest a young businessman based in Delta State for using a mobile number previously used and abandoned by her.
The man named Anthony Okolie was issued the mobile number by telecoms firm, MTN, when he visited one of their outlets in Asaba, the state capital, to purchase a SIM.
Accused of using the mobile number to defraud unsuspecting members of the public by pretending to be Hanan, Okolie was kept in unlawful detention for 10 weeks until he was finally released by the secret police.
Three months after a court in Delta State ordered the DSS and all parties involved to pay the victim N10m as compensation for the violation of his rights, the agency has refused to do so.