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Sowore: NBA calls for suspension of DSS DG

By Joseph Onyekwere (Lagos) and John Akubo (Abuja)
08 December 2019   |   4:46 am
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called for the immediate suspension of Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS) from office.

• Abbo Condemns Invasion Of Courtroom
• US Senators Tell Buhari To Expect Sanctions

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has called for the immediate suspension of Yusuf Bichi, the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS) from office.

This followed the invasion of an Abuja federal high court, on Friday in a bid to re-arrest the publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr. Omoyele Sowore and his co-accused, Olawale Bakare by officials of the secret service. 

The two, who are facing treason charges, among others, for calling for a revolution against the Federal Government, were eventually re-arrested despite being on bail granted by the same Federal High Court. 
The body of lawyers, in a statement endorsed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kunle Edun, said the demand for Bichi’s suspension has become necessary, considering that the DSS under his leadership has established itself as a brutish and irresponsible agency that derives immense pleasure from violating the fundamental rights of Nigerians and disrespecting court orders.
While urging the Federal Government and the National Assembly “to immediately investigate the shameful conduct by the DSS and ensure that all persons found culpable are duly punished in accordance with the law, the body said the National Assembly should “review the laws setting up the DSS and indeed all security agencies in Nigeria, with a view to repositioning them to be more responsible and responsive to the public.”
The NBA also wanted the Attorney General of the Federation, being the Chief Law officer of the Federation to take over all the political cases or cases involving politically exposed persons presently handled by the DSS.

The body said it was “greatly dismayed at the exhibition of primitive thuggery, insane passion for lawlessness, contempt and disrespect for the rule of law by the DSS agents within the precincts of the Federal High Court, Abuja while attempting to re-arrest Sowore and Bakare.

“The court invasion by the agency runs contrary to the avowed assurances of President Buhari that he will ensure that the Federal Government and agencies under it obey court orders. The disrespect of the court by the DSS is legendary and unrivalled… 

“Nigerians are now under siege by security agents who have no regard for the law and the courts. NBA, therefore, urges Nigerians to be alive to their responsibilities as citizens and expresses its readiness to partner with all Nigerians and civil society organisations to ensure that the rights of Nigerians as guaranteed by Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended are not trampled upon by any government agency.

Meanwhile, Senator Abbo representing Adamawa North senatorial district has described the court invasion as the height of over zealousness on the part of the security operatives, which amounts to desecration of the sanctity of the judiciary.

“They should have laid siege for him, even at the gate of the court premises,” he said. “But going into the courtroom. I think that is wrong. That should not happen anywhere. It is like going to the Senate chambers or that of the House of Representatives to arrest someone. It is an affront on the sanctity of courtrooms. The security agents should be cautioned, reprimanded and be given summary trial in the courtroom.”

Similarly, two United States senators, Cory Booker and Bob Menendez have condemned Sowore’s re-arrest in court.

Reacting to the development on Friday, Booker described the situation as dangerous, and promised to assent to any move that will uphold the rule of law in the country.

He said: “It is appalling that Sowore was rearrested hours after his release. This is a shocking affront to the country’s rule of law, and Nigeria must cease its dangerous attacks on freedom of expression.”


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