CDHR Calls for Disbandment of DSS

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has called for the immediate dissolution of the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) for the ignoble role it played in re-arresting Omoyele Sowore inside a courtroom in Abuja.

CDHR, in a statement yesterday by its National President, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, in Benin City, alleged that DSS has shown itself to be unworthy and that the matter has gone beyond mere sack of the security outfit’s leadership.

“There is a precedence for this. We once had an outfit called the NSO. The SSS or DSS as they now called themselves have completely outlived its usefulness. It is beyond redemption. It has to be dissolved immediately.

“We call on the Nigerian people and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA to insist on the dissolution of the DSS. I wish to also call on the National Assembly to side with the Nigeria people to repeal the law that established the DSS, sack all its personnel, and by legislation, the lawmakers should lay the foundation for a new security system agency that will focus on the protection of the well-being of all Nigerians, as opposed to the imagined interest of a few office holders in Nigeria,” he said.

Obayuwana added that the CDHR received with utmost shock the news of the re-arrest of Sowore by the DSS in Abuja, a day after the agency reluctantly complied with the order of court, accusing the agency of “contemptuous defiance for an unbelievably long period of time.”

He noted that while the DSS further violated Sowore’s rights, it has exposed itself as an agency of government that could not be taken seriously given the lame excuses spewed forth not too long ago for their flagrant violation of the rule of law and human rights in the country.

“At a point, DSS information officer trivialised the issues, by saying that Sowore and others were so comfortable in DSS custody that they would rather stay there indefinitely. At another time, the spokesman said the court order to release Sowore was being disobeyed according to DSS to prevent him from being run over by an unmarked vehicle.

“Unfortunately for them, the issue of observance of human rights, democracy and good governance is not a comical show, and Nigerians have shown that we are not amused. This is captured by the resoluteness clearly shown by the judge that gave an ultimatum to the same agency to release Sowore within 24 hours. From all indications, the DSS realised that the game was up by quickly complying, or pretending to, for a few hours,” he said.

CDHR frowned at the crude re-arrest of Sowore and Olawale Bakare inside the hallowed chamber of the court, where they had gone to answer to the charges against them, noting that the arrest is not only an insult to the judiciary as an institution and the system of administration of justice as a whole, but a spite on all that is decent about Nigeria and world opinion.

Obayuwana alleged the incident conveyed in unmistakable terms that the present leadership and membership of the DSS as an agency of government was completely out of tune with the dictates of the rationale for its establishment as an agency and its mandate.

According to him, “The charade and shenanigans of their orchestrated completely unconstitutional secret trials of those who have been criminalised for expressing their views has already shown that the agency has outlived its usefulness in present day Nigeria. The crude abduction of Sowore confirms beyond all doubt that the DSS as presently composed is nothing but a lapdog that sees its job as not going beyond the preoccupation of imagining the expectations of persons holding public office for a limited period of time, even when no express directions have been given them.

“We are reminded of the onslaught of the same DSS against the National Assembly of a few years ago in the absence of Mr. President. They choose to ride roughshod over the rights and interests of the Nigerian people in whom sovereignty lies at all times.”