The midnight invasion of judges’ homes by the DSS has brought to the fore the reality that Democracy, Rule of Law and Respect for the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are under serious threat in the civilian administration of President Muhammed Buhari.
The Gestapo style of the DSS operation is a sad reminder that after 17 years of return to civilian administration, dictatorship and all other accompanying derivatives of the military regime are still here with us.
Without holding brief for the affected judges even when the DSS has already declared them guilty as charged, it is a settled maxim that there are legally accepted procedures for criminal arrest, investigation, prosecution and conviction.
Nigeria as a nation-state also has relevant agencies and bodies charged with the responsibility of addressing corruption, financial malfeasance and other related offences.
The DSS under Buhari if left unchecked may become another Strike Force“, the deadly group formed by the late Maximum ruler, Sani Abacha.
The DSS established by the National Security Agency Act CAP N74, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (L.F.N.) 2004. in Section-2(3) is charged with the responsibilities of
(a) The prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;
(b) The protection and preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria; and such other responsibilities affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.
The DSS action is morally and legally reprehensible and there is nothing to cheer or justify their action over the huge sums of cash said to have been recovered from the judge’s homes.
After all the DSS is not a money recovering agency while we are yet to see the impact or told where the government has channeled all the huge sums of monies bandied about as reportedly recovered from looters.
The defence put up by the DSS and the Presidency in their separate public statements trying to justify their action cannot fly because one cannot stand in illegality to fight another illegality.
To address this dangerous descent to lawlessness and bastardisation of democratic tenets in Nigeria under this administration, we recommend a special tutelage for the political leaders and the coercive security agencies at the National Democratic Institute where they will be purged of any military hangover and made to embrace the principles of democracy.
We also challenge the Presidency to be holistic in its anti-corruption drive. Starting from the full disclosure of his campaign funds and probing those presently serving in his cabinet who have several cases of corruption hanging on their necks while they served as governors or other political offices.
Let us rise and defend this democracy because no one is safe under this trend.
Comrade Aloysius Emeka Attah
South East Zonal Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation ( CLO) Nigeria