Today 8 August, 2022

Nigerian Senate summons Director General NIA over directive to DSS

Nigerian Senate summons Director General NIA over directive to DSS

The Senate through it’s Committee on Ethics Privileges and Public Petition has summoned the Director General of Nigeria’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, to appear before it over his office directive to the Department of State Services (DSS).

The Chairman of the Senate panel, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, PDP, Ondo Central, has ordered Abubakar to appear before the committee and explain, within seven days, why the rights activist has been blacklisted since 2009 despite the fact that no criminal case has been established against him.

Members of the Committee, who agreed that the NIA should present them with concrete allegations next week, maintained that Ofehe did not appear to be a criminal, as the petitioners claimed, because he has no criminal record and a good working relationship with the Dutch government.

Based on the strength of a petition in his possession, the NIA DG directed the Director General of the DSS, Mr. Yusuf Magaji Bichi, to blacklist Mr. Sunny Ofehe, a Niger Delta environmental rights activist based in the Netherlands.

In their letter, the petitioners claimed that Ofehe was engaging in fraudulent activities by using the SPDC’s name to defraud unsuspecting people in both Nigeria and the Netherlands.

Lawyers for Ofehe, led by Mr. Frank Tietie, informed the panel that neither the NIA nor the DSS had instituted criminal action against Ofehe in any court of law since the petition was filed about 13 years ago, saying, “The DSS, based on a directive from the office of the NIA, blacklisted my client, subjecting him to terrible harassment and ridicule by security agencies at Nigeria’s international borders since 2009.”

“My client is based in Netherlands a ND he has been coming and going out of Nigeria since he was blacklisted. Yet, to security agency had arrested and prosecuted in any court of law because they know that the allegations against him were fabricated falsehood.

“The faceless petitioner is attacking my client because he is a renowned global environmental rights activist who is exposing the false claims of the Anglo-Dutch oil firm in the Niger Delta region.

“This is highly unfortunate because the development had denied Nigeria, many investment opportunities because genuine investors from Netherlands being brought to the country by my client had on many occasions, embarrassed by the security agencies at the point of entry.

“My client therefore had no option than to petition the Senate to seek justice and make the DSS to remove his name for its blacklist

The NIA representative was not present at the session, but a director with the DSS, who did not reveal his name, admitted that the right activist was blacklisted on June 3, 2009, as a result of a directive issued by the NSA and supported by a petition.

The DSS Director, who noted that the petitioners claimed Ofehe defrauded both Dutch and Nigerian citizens, insisted that the security agency did not go above and beyond in blacklisting Ofehe.

Senators Opeyemi Bamidele, Chukwuka Utazi, Sam Egwu who faulted the submission of the DSS, on their parts however wondered why it had yet to charge him to Court despite coming and going out of Nigeria since 2009.

Senator Utazi specifically explained how Ofehe was well acknowledged by the government of Netherlands when the committee members visited the country sometime ago, to carry out oversight function.

Akinyelure said, “The NIA should within the next seven days give concrete evidences against Ofehe or the Senate Committee on Ethics Privileges and Public Petition, will have no option than direct the DSS to delete his name from the blacklist, if nothing was established to justify the DSS action.”

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