*Immunity Covers Only Governor, Not Building [pix: Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel]
Two weeks after the invasion of the Akwa Ibom State government house by men of the Department of State Service, President Muhamadu Buhari has explained the rationale for the attack.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Legislative Affairs (Senate Matters) Senator Ita Enang, President Buhari said the invasion was based on the suspicion that there were arms, ammunitions and foreign currencies stock piled within the precinct of the Akwa Ibom government house.
Speaking on a radio interview programme in Uyo, Senator Enang said that although the constitution provided immunity for the President, Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, the immunity did not cover the buildings within the government lodge.
Enang who alleged that the former Governor of the State, Senator Godswill Akpabio was still residing within the Government House, said the security information available had fingered Akpabio of being in possession of Government vehicles and some weapons that may be used to wreck terror in the country.
The former legislator said that with such information, it was important for the security agents to be mobilized immediately into action to ransack the Akwa Ibom seat of government.
He said the government house at present is not occupied by the incumbent governor, but that even if he(Gov Emmanuel) was living there, the DSS would still have searched his lodge in his presence and if anything incriminating is discovered, the governor would not be arrested, until after the end of his tenure.
Senator Enang who blew hot said, “if it is discovered that during the process of handing over, the outgoing governor failed to handover all government properties in his possession, then the security agency of the state can move in and forcefully retrieve those government properties.”
As if personally angry with the Senate Minority leader, Enang fumed, “Senator Akpabio does not have immunity after office. Even the sitting President of the Senate does not have immunity, and can be arrested, can be prosecuted and can be detained.”
“If a governor having vacated office now moves into another government facility within the government house, that property is not covered by immunity, neither is he himself covered by immunity” Enang fired.
Ita Enang, who is currently the highest ranked legal officer with President Buhari said “the DSS is saddled with the responsibility for prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria.”
He explained that “during the elections, it was alleged that so many arms and weapons were brought into the state and used during the elections and thereafter kept at certain locations by the immediate past administration and the PDP government.”
It was the view of Presidential aide that, “If it is suspected or alleged that those arms are kept at the government house, or that someone is in possession of some funds that can be used to fund terrorism and the internal security of the country, then the State Security can move in without notice because the lodge is within Nigerian territory.”
Ita Enang, who spoke in absolute confidence, had nothing to do with the present governor Udom Emmanuel, but said the action of the State Security Service was targeted at former Governor Akpabio in line with President Buhari’s stance to fight corruption by past leaders in the country.
When told that it was a first time an operation like this was being executed in government house, Enang replied, “There is nothing new in what the DSS did at Akwa Ibom government House, don’t forget it is the same DSS that was used by the previous PDP administration to do the same thing across the country,” he however failed to mention any such instance.
He furthered that the security of government house is not a responsibility of the Governor, but that of the Chief Security Officer to the Governor who takes record and directs on the use of arms within the government house.
Ita Enang who rode on the wings of PDP to the national assembly for 16 years, again denounced the PDP and said his support was for APC and President Buhari. He however commended Udom Emmanuel for his achievements in office, but urged him to keep a safe distance from Chief Godswill Akpabio.
“Governor Udom Emmanuel is my friend he is my brother,he is running the state well,” but advised that he makes use of one bank account for all revenues of the state and also recovers all government properties from former officers of the government.
“I want to advise my brothers and sisters to cooperate with Governor Udom Emmanuel, because he is our governor and he is performing well. He will do better if we give him more support.” Enang concluded.