This is the concluding part of our letter, referenced above, to the United Nations Secretary General and eleven other influential members of the international community (US, UK, EU, Vatican, France, Germany, Australia, Brazil, India, Japan and Canada), dated 13th November 2015 and referenced: Intersociety/SE/CSOs/01/11/015/Inter-Community/UN. The letter is supported and adopted by Coalition of the Southeast based Human Rights Organizations and copied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chairman of Board of the National Human Rights Commission and the National Security Adviser.
Use of DSS for State Terrorism: The legal powers and duties of the DSS are contained in Section 2 (3)(a)(b)(c) of the National Security Agencies Act Cap 74, Laws of Nigeria 2004, to include: prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against internal security of Nigeria, the protection and preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria; and such other responsibilities affecting the internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the President, as case may be, may deem necessary. In other words, the DSS was created with primary responsibility of manning internal intelligence security of Nigeria and protection of VIPs. All the powers and duties of the DSS as contained in the National Security Agencies Act of 2004 are subject to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and its Rule of Law principles.
The DSS is also closest to, and directly controlled by President Muhammadu Buhari. This is contained in Section 3 (2) (a) of the Nigerian Security Agencies Act Cap 74, Laws of Nigeria 2004. The Service is one of the three successor-security intelligence agencies of the moribund National Security Organization (NSO), which was extensively deployed and used by Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari (as he then was in 1984 and 1985) to enforce his two infamous and draconian Decrees No 2 of 1984 (detention of persons without trial) & No 4 (public officers protection against false accusation) of 1984 leading to reported countless disappearances, unlawful arrests, long custodial detentions, torture and unlawful killings under his military regime. The remaining two intelligence organizations created from moribund NSO are the National Intelligence Agency-NIA (for external intelligence) and the Directorate of Military Intelligence-DMI (for military intelligence).
It is therefore important to inform Your Excellencies that the DSS has since June 2015 carried out at least twelve State-terror invasions, arrests and detentions of Nigerian leading citizens of politically and socially vocal backgrounds. The circumstances and reasons for such invasions, arrests and detentions are flimsy, politically vindictive and incoherent with the Fundamental Human Rights provisions of the 1999 Constitution and its enshrined principles of the Rule of Law. With just 166 days or barely six months in office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the DSS has already run riot on not less than twelve leading citizens in the country.
From Gordon Obua (immediate past CSO to former President Goodluck Jonathan) to Sambo Dasuki (immediate past NSA); from Rivers and Akwa Ibom States Resident Electoral Commissioners and their six principal officers (arrested and detained while defending their 2015 governorship poll results at electoral courts) to Hon Justice Muazu Pindigi (chairman of the Rivers State Governorship Electoral Court threatened by DSS and sacked by the Appeal Court President); and from Sambo Dasuki (for the record second time) to Citizen Nnamdi Kanu, the list of the DSS riotous conducts and operational brigandage in less than 180 days of the Buhari’s Presidency has continued ceaselessly and uncontrollably. Of all the coercive or armed security establishments under the present Buhari’s administration, the DSS is the most extensively used and deployed by the Presidency to perpetrate and perpetuate these anti democratic and anti constitutional conducts; otherwise called State terrorism.
Disobedience to Rule of Law, Judicial Pronouncements & Human Rights Norms: The Buhari’s Presidency in Nigeria is extensively using the DSS to pervert the course of justice including flouting with reckless abandon, judicial pronouncements including court orders. As a matter of fact, the SSS (DSS)’s reckless abuse of judicial process and flouting of judicial orders have risen to an apogee. As we write Your Excellencies, the Service is still laying siege on the residence of the former National Security Adviser, Retired Col Sambo Dasuki, despite a subsisting order of the Federal High Court Six, sitting in Abuja, which had on 3rd November 2015 granted him three weeks leave for his overseas medical appointment. The Order was reaffirmed on 13th November 2015 by the Presiding Judge, Hon Justice Adeniyi Ademola; yet the Service still observes same in gross breach.
Further, the constitutional rights of the Nigerian citizens to life, dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing, freedom of expression, movement, peaceful assembly, association and freedom from discrimination have been threatened and trampled upon by the Buhari administration using the DSS in the past 166 days of its presidency. These rights are judicially enshrined in Sections 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 40, 41 and 42 of the Fundamental Human Rights Charter of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Regionally and internationally speaking, these rights are also provided in the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (AU) and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (UN). By Article 1 of the ICCPR (UN), it is further provided that: all peoples shall have the right of self-determination and by virtue of that right they shall freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. By Article 3 of the same ICCPR, the States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the administration of Non-Self-Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations. By Article 20 of the ACHPR (AU), ratified and domesticated by Nigeria, all peoples shall have right to existence and they shall have unquestionable and inalienable right to self determination.
From the foregoing Your Excellencies, it has been empirically established that Nigeria under Buhari’s Presidency has observed in gross breach its constitutional, municipal, regional and international human rights treaties’ obligations. We have also thoroughly searched the 320 Sections of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria and its subsidiary laws and there is no provision where President Muhammadu Buhari through his DSS is given power to continue to detain a citizen (Nnamdi Kanu), who was charged to court by the same Buhari’s DSS with the same court at which he was charged granting him bail based on “bailability” of criminal charges preferred against him.
It is also unheard of in the history of democracy and its constitutionalism in Nigeria that an accused person with misdemeanor charges who was granted a judicial bail and fulfilled all his bail conditions within three days has remained kept behind the DSS bars for a period of 27 days (20th October to 16th Nov). Also saddening is the reckless flouting and rapacious disobedience by the DSS of three court orders (production (twice), bail and transfer) made by the trial Magistrate between October 19 and 28, 2015.
Our writing Your Excellencies, therefore, is for Your Excellencies to take firm diplomatic, political and bilateral/multilateral notice of continued detention of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in particular and the country’s steady drift into anarchy and dictatorship in general. In the past weeks, mass protests involving millions of citizens of Nigeria including school children, women and the elderly have gripped major cities of Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi, Owerri, Umuahia, Okigwe, Enugu, Asaba, Uyo, Yanagoa, Port Harcourt, Benin and Calabar in Southeast and South-south Nigeria as well as dozens of foreign capital cities over the continued detention of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu. In all these, President Muhammadu Buhari and his DSS have kept unholy sealed lips; in reminiscence of State of terror during his military days of 1984 to 1985.
Arresting and detaining citizens outside judicial process and pronouncements are the greatest threat to democracy and rule of law in Nigeria and a clear return of State terrorism in the country. This trend, if unchecked, will not only lead to lawlessness, but will also compound the country’s fragile contraption and further undermine and threaten its fragile Statehood. The inability and unwillingness of the Buhari administration to frontally address these landmines may most undermine the legitimacy of governmental powers and authority; which can be a recipe for civil disobedience and collapse of traditional State power and legitimacy.
We, therefore, call on Your Excellencies to bring Your Excellencies’ political, economic and diplomatic influences, interests and pressures upon President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration. He must be told in an unmistakable language to release with immediate effect and unconditionally Citizen Nnamdi Kanu as well as dropping all charges against him. President Buhari should also be advised to drastically change his highly divisive governing styles above highlighted and save the country from possible eruption into another round of civil disturbances and violence of intractable proportions; propelled by his administration’s steady promotion, aiding and abetting of triggers of social fragmentation and divided society. When a State takes recourse to reckless and naked application and use of State coercive power, its traditional power and authority monopoly instantly becomes threatened and endangered.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons), Criminology & Security Studies
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Supported By: Coalition of the Southeast based Human Rights Organizations:
1. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization
2. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
3 Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)
For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)
4. Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights
5. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)
For: Society Advocacy Watch Project
6 Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)
For: Anambra Human Rights Forum
7. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)
For: Southeast Good Governance Forum
8. Eze Eluchie, Esq. (+2348175177880)
For: PADDI Foundation