Emmanuel Ani, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State House of Assembly has described claim by Femi Falana (SAN) that the Department of State Services (DSS) lacked both the moral and legal rights to carry out the probe of alleged involvement of members of the House of Representatives in budget padding, as another display of political hypocrisy, asking why he (Falana) supported the DSS invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and arrest a member of the House, Hon. Afolabi Akanni.
Falana had said that there was no legal backing for the DSS to investigate alleged budget padding at the House of Representatives, which he described as “a straight forward case of economic crime”, noting that the agency, by virtue of National Security Agencies Act, was strictly limited to the “preservation and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria.”
He also questioned the DSS’ recent arrest and detention of the principal officers and administrative staff of the Zamfara State House of Assembly for attempting to commence an impeachment proceeding against Governor Mohammed Yari on grounds of alleged corrupt practices.
However, Chairman of the Ekiti State House of Assembly Committee of Information, Hon Gboyega Aribisogan, who reacted to Falana’s position in a statement issued on Monday, said; “Falana gave tacit support to the DSS when the agency engaged in illegalities in Ekiti, his home state and now elects to complain when the same DSS extended its illegalities to the House of Representatives and Zamfara State House of Assembly.
“The question that Mr Femi Falana (SAN) needs to answer is whether he just realized that the duty of the DSS, according to the National Security Agencies Act, is strictly limited to the preservation and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria.
“Also, Falana needs to tell Nigerians whether the DSS invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, that he supported, was in preservation of internal security of Nigeria,” Aribisogan said.
Describing Falana’s stance on political issues in Nigeria as “hypocritical”, the Asembly said it was sad that the self-professed human rights lawyer always found his voice only when his political allies in his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) were involved.
“Throughout the four years of the APC government of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Falana did not utter a word to condemn the murder of 10 indigenes of the State that were allegedly killed by agents of the government.
“It is on record that the APC Chairman in Ekiti State, Jide Awe, who is standing trial over the murder of Ayo Jeje and Mrs Juliana Adewumi in Erijiyan Ekiti has remained a fugitive and he has been relating with him (Awe) despite that a warrant of arrest was issued against him?
“The question is, is Falana’s human rights activism only about defending the interests of his political allies in his party, the APC?
“Could Falana have spoken against the DSS arrest of and detention of the principal officers and administrative staff of the Zamfara State House of Assembly if Zamfara was a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) controlled State like Ekiti?
“That was the same way he (Falana) said in an interview in The Punch newspaper on July 15, 2014 that Ekiti governorship election was not rigged and that Fayose won fair and square, only to come back close 18 months after to say that the election was fraudulent.
“It is our view that a credible rights activist will not blow hot and cold at the same time as being done by Falana, and Nigerians should stop taking self-centred political activists like him seriously.”