DSS takes over Garki market fracas victims treatment

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has taken over payment of medical bills for victims of the September 7, 2023 fracas at a market on the FCT involving its personnel.

This is as the Service has assured that it won’t interfere in police investigation, stating: “The public may wish to note that the Service has not interfered with the investigation of the Police which is also detaining its staff suspected to be involved in the incident.

DSS Public Relations Officer (PRO) Dr Peter Afunanya, made this known in a press statement on Thursday in Abuja, titled: Update On The Garki Market, Abuja, Incident Involving DSS Staff.

The service had earlier announced that investigation was on-going into an incident between its staff and a mob at the market, and assured the public that details of the inquiries would be communicated as soon as possible.

The statement read in part: “It would be recalled that the DSS had earlier issued a statement in respect of a September 7, 2023 incident involving its staff and some members of the public at Garki Market, Abuja.

“This is to further inform the public that the Service has constituted an in-house investigative team on the matter. While the inquiry is ongoing, the Service has visited the two injured persons at the different hospitals where they are receiving treatment.

“It committed to the payment of the medical bills and made required deposits in this regard. To show sincerity of purpose at the time of the visits, the Service expressed readiness to move them to its world class medical facility in Abuja. It could have undertaken these actions even if its staff were not involved.”

According to the spokesperson,

“Though these efforts are not, in any way, in admission of guilt (as investigation is yet to be concluded), the Service believes that the victims deserve empathy, financial support and justice.

“While it is in regular contact with their families or guardians, it will continue to follow up on their recovery and progress. However, the DSS reassures the public that the victims are upbeat and responding well to treatment.”

He maitaimed that, “The Service’s position is not only to ensure justice for the victims, but it is in line with its avowed commitment to transparency, accountability and rule of law. 

“Nevertheless, updates of this nature will always be made available till the matter is finally resolved.”

The FCT Police Command had said its operatives quelled an altercation at the Garki International Market involving a DSS operative, shop occupants at the market, and some local youths.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Josephine Adeh, in a press statement said that there was an altercation between market occupants and certain individuals, including a DSS personnel and a tailor named Muhammad Habibu. 

“The Garki Divisional Police Station mobilised officers in response to a received distress call reporting the invasion of the market by these individuals, who fired shots at a tailor known as Mubarak Mubarak.

“This incident led to some of the local youths reacting angrily and attempting to confront the DSS personnel involved. In response, the police intervened to rescue the individuals and protect public safety.”