Says agency going beyond constitutional duties
From Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
EKITI Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has said he will not be intimidated by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) who invaded the state’s House of Assembly on Friday, March 4.
The governor, who said the DSS under President Buhari was operating beyond its constitutional mandate, added that, “the government of Ekiti State may have to reconsider the usefulness of men of the DSS in the Government House and other institutions of the state government.”
In a release issued yesterday and signed by Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose alleged the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government was pursuing a clandestine agenda of truncating democracy in Ekiti State and other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-controlled states like Rivers and Bayelsa.
The governor said the DSS has abandoned its core mandate of providing intelligence for the protection of the internal security of Nigeria as provided in the Security Agencies Act Cap. N74 LFN, 2004, adding that; “instead of assisting the police, military and other security agencies with classified matters, we now have a DSS that is running after perceived opponents of the president, arresting goat and fowl thieves as well as husbands who assaulted their wives.
“If the DSS was alive to its responsibilities, we won’t be having Boko Haram insurgents killing Nigerians, all these kidnappings and Fulani herdsmen killings, raping and destroying farmlands in the South-West, South-East and North-Central zones in the country would have been nipped in the bud.”
He said the same way President Buhari used the National Security Organisation (NSO), headed by Ambassador Mohammed Lawal Rafindadi from Katsina State is the same way the president is using the DSS, headed by another of his kinsman, Lawal Daura to harass, oppress and intimidate Nigerians.
Meanwhile, legal practitioners in the country have reacted to the alleged invasion of the assembly last Friday.
Human rights activist and litigation expert, Bimpe Olatemiju of Citi Lawyers Chamber, Ikeja, Lagos, said: “You see the duty of the DSS as specified in the Constitution is very clear, “they only come in when there is a threat to state security, not when there is an alleged crime. So, the invasion of Ekiti Assembly by the DSS is an illegal act.”
Abayomi Sadiku, also a lawyer, said: “Members of the assembly do not have to be disturbed while they are performing their lawful duty inside the hallowed chamber. If the law enforcement agents, which the DSS represents, have anything against them, they should invite them and not invade the House as reported. But you know that the lawmakers do not have immunity as members of the executive do.
Yusuf Alli (SAN), who advised the Ekiti State Assembly lawmakers to go to court and seek legal protection, said: “I advise the lawmakers to go to court if they feel that their rights have been trampled on. I don’t want to comment on the actions of the law enforcement agents until I have the facts. I don’t comment on speculative matters.”
Renowned rights activist, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), also condemned the arrest of the lawmakers inside the Assembly chamber by the DSS, describing it as illegal.