Matters Arising From Dss Invasion Of Ekiti Assembly

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BEVERLY HILLS, March 12, (THEWILL) – The role of the Department of State Services (DSS) has come under sharp scrutiny. This follows its invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, and subsequent whisking away of four lawmakers in the midst of the Assembly’s committee meetings. Tongues have since been wagging over the real motive behind the action.

The Senate, last week directed its committee on National Security and Intelligence to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the action, just as the House of Representatives invited the DSS boss, Lawal Daura for clarifications. So far, no answer has been provided.

THEWILL views DSS refusal to cooperate with the National Assembly as unhealthy for our democracy. Biodun Olujimi, an Ekiti senator described the invasion by the secret police as “outside the scope of its mandate.” The House had under matters of urgent public importance declared it as a “clear violation of the provisions of the Constitution and interference with an arm of government.”

Also, Ekiti branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) called “the brazen use of force by the DSS” as a “sharp departure from the tenet of democracy and clear contravention of the law setting up the institution.”

It is well-known that Governor Ayodele Fayose has been the strongest critic of  President Muhammadu Buhari, and policies of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Ekiti Assembly had through a unanimous resolution last November declared the Governor as Nigeria “Opposition Leader”.

There are indications that the governing party's body language and utterances have shown discernable attempts to re-write history. This much had emerged shortly after the controversial role played by the military in the June 21, 2014 governorship election in Ekiti, and allegations of rigging by former PDP stalwart in the state, Dr. Temitope Aluko.

Fayose, shortly after then, berated the DSS under Daura, Buhari's kinsman, as abandoning its core mandate, which is that of providing the needed intelligence reports for the internal security of Nigeria, as provided for in the Security Agencies Act Cap. N74, LFN, 2004.

THEWILL sees these discordant tunes as calculated to muzzle the opposition and truncate democracy in the state. In the face of diverse issues threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria, we crave the DSS to focus more on its core mandate, by addressing such pressing matters as the current clashes between nomadic Fulani herdsmen and land owners, growing rate of kidnapping and demystifying Boko Haram sponsors, among others.

We condemn any attempt to use the DSS to settle political scores. While not advocating lawlessness in Ekiti State, it is critical that the embattled lawmakers be arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction, if indeed they defiled the law in any way. It would be recalled that a similar script had been acted in Akwa Ibom, another PDP-controlled state, where lawmakers were accused of gun-running. We see this as attempts to truncate and destabilize governments controlled by the opposition.

Many have blamed Buhari for the invasion. Chairman, House Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogun, professed that “the SSS would not embark on such action without presidential approval.”

Also, Shehu Sani, APC senator representing Kaduna Central, faulted the President over recurrent use of security agencies to intimidate opposition.

THEWILL perceives the continued detention of the four lawmakers, without access to their family and lawyers as perplexing in view of the infectious allegations from some stakeholders that $1 million was promised them to impeach Fayose. All lovers of democracy must resist the emerging rule of force, as against the rule of law.