Ekiti Assembly Invasion by DSS: Lawmakers threaten lawsuit.
Agitated members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, demanded an unreserved apology from the Department of State Services (DSS) over the March 4, 2016 invasion of its Assembly complex and unlawful detention of a member of the House, representing Efon Constituency, Hon Afolabi Akanni for 18 days.
The lawmakers threatened to seek redress and damages in court.
Describing the act of impunity by the DSS under President Muhammadu Buhari as undemocratic, unpatriotic, dictatorial and brutish, the lawmakers also demanded a thorough medical examination of Hon. Akanni, saying, “we fear that his health and general well-being could have been compromised while in the DSS custody”.
Addressing the media, Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan, who was flanked by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Kola Oluwawole, Deputy Speaker; Hon Segun Adewumi and 16 others, said the DSS must explain to Nigerians whether in a democracy, it was part of the its mandate to disobey court orders and dump Nigerians in detention for 18 days on unfounded allegations.
The statement reads, “Yesterday, we read online like other Nigerians that our member, representing Efon Constituency, Hon Afolabi Akanni who has been in the Department of State Services (DSS) detention in Abuja since March 4 was on admission at a private hospital in Abuja.
“Up till this moment, we have not been told officially by the DSS whether or not Hon Akanni was formally released from incarceration after spending 18 days without access to his doctors, lawyers and family members.
“However, preliminary information available to us suggests that Hon Akanni may have been brought to the hospital by men of the DSS and abandoned there because they could no longer hold him in captivity because of his deteriorating health condition.
“Nigerians should be reminded that it took the rumour of Hon Akanni’s death for the DSS to admit officially that it was holding him after spending 15 days in detention without access to anyone.
“As we speak, Hon Akanni is in very critical condition and he has not been able to speak with anyone of us.
“As reported in the media, Hon Akanni could only say that he was sick, he was not well when press men sought to speak with him yesterday.
“We therefore demand an official explanation from the DSS as to why Hon. Akanni was abducted and held incommunicado for 18 days, only for us to be told that he was admitted at a private hospital in Abuja.
“We also demand a thorough medical examination of Hon. Akanni as we fear that his health and general well-being could have been compromised while in the DSS custody.
“Furthermore, we demand an explanation from the DSS whether in a democracy, it is part of the its mandate to disobey court orders anddump Nigerians in detention for 18 days on unfounded allegations.
“Most importantly, we condemn strongly the DSS illegal arrest, detention and dehumanization of Hon Akanni and we demand an unreserved apology forthwith.
“We have also directed our counsel to seek redress and damages in court because to us, this act of impunity by the DSS under President Muhammadu Buhari is undemocratic, unpatriotic, dictatorial and brutish.
“Detaining Nigerians for weeks without trial is a clear return of Decree 2, with which President Buhari hounded Nigerians in detention when he was a military dictator and we in the Ekiti State House of Assembly will continue to support our leader and Governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose in his fight against tyranny.
“We wish to also alert the public that men of the DSS have been visiting schools attended by some of our members, in search of their academic records.
“Though we are not afraid of anyone or agency of government investigating the academic background of our members, it is important that the DSS face its core mandate of gathering intelligence for the security of Nigeria and its people.
“We wish to advise the DSS to pay more attention to the growing insecurity in the country, instead of acting as an arm of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to pursue the evil agenda of destabilizing the Fayose-led government.
“Lastly, we wish to reiterate our commitment to the development of Ekiti State, which is being championed committedly by Governor Ayodele Fayose and we state that no amount of intimidation and harassment will make us join the enemies of Ekiti, whose only interest is to grab power for their personal gains.”
Recall that Mr. Akanni Afolabi, of the Ekiti State House of Assembly who became the subject of a death scare in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS last week has regained his freedom.
Afolabi who was freed after 18 days in detention was, however, immediately admitted in a private hospital in Abuja for treatment.
The lawmaker was very weak and could barely speak when reporters visited him at the hospital even as he kept repeating “I am not well. I am sick. I am sick.”
He was seen receiving intravenous fluid in the private hospital as at the time of the visit. He, however, disclosed that he was treated for malaria at the DSS detention facility after he collapsed two times.
He said his release may not be unconnected with his deteriorating health situation, adding that he was not told by the DSS operatives why he was he held.
Afolabi was picked up on March 4 when DSS operatives stormed the premises of the State House of Assembly in Ado-Ekiti.