The Ekiti State House of Assembly has berated human rights activist and lawyer, Femi Falana, (SAN), for his double standards in the legality or otherwise of the Department of State Services, DSS’ meddling in the internal affairs of the legislative arm of government.
The House of Assembly specifically frowned at Falana’s condemnation of the DSS’ decision to investigate principal officers and others members of the House of Representatives over alleged involvement in the padding of the 2016 budget because it lacked the powers to do so, while looking the other way when the agency “invaded” the Ekiti Assembly and arrested a member over allegations of fraud.
Chairman of the Assembly’s Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogan, on Monday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, said the Senior Advocate of Nigeria’s new position on the DSS’ role at the National Assembly and the arrest of members of the Zamfara State House of Assembly over attempt to impeach the state governor, was a show of hypocrisy.
Mr. Falana had Sunday issued a statement questioning the legality of the DSS’ move to investigate alleged padding of 2016 budget, which he described as “a straight forward case of economic crime”, which ought to be handled by appropriate law enforcement agencies such as the police, EFCC and ICPC.
He argued that by virtue of National Security Agencies Act, the DSS is strictly limited to the “preservation and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria”.
The rights activist had also lampooned the DSS for clamping down on principal officers and administrative staff of Zamfara State House of Assembly for attempting to commence impeachment proceedings against Governor Abdulazeez Yari on grounds of alleged corrupt practices.
“Falana should be ashamed that he 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”, Mr. Aribisogan said.
“The question that Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) needs to answer is whether he just realised 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”.
The Ekiti Assembly’s spokesman accused Mr. Falana of always finding his voice only when his political allies in his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) were involved.
“The question is, is Falana’s human rights activism only about defending the interests of his political allies in his party, the APC?” queried Mr. Aribisogan.
“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 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled State like Ekiti?
“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”, he added.