Mike Ejiofor, a former Director of the Department of State Security (DSS), said it was outside the purview of the DSS to act the way Lawal Daura acted in the blockade of the National Assembly. He spoke with ISIOMA MADIKE.
The recent blockade of the National Assembly by officials of the DSS has been generating a lot of comments. Is it within the powers of the DSS to act in that regard?
There is no way such an action could be justified because it’s not within the purview of the DSS to usurp or arrogate powers that it doesn’t have to itself. It is clearly not in the mandate of DSS to seal up the parliament and prevents legislators and other workers at the complex from going in to do their legitimate duties. It must be condemned in its entirety. It’s uncivilised and remains a threat to democracy.
What about the DG’s dismissal. Many have said the government was also wrong to have dismissed him in that manner. What’s your view on this?
The acting President did the right thing and I commend the Federal Government in taking such prompt decision. It simply means that other democratic institutions should learn from this and comport themselves and respect the democratic tenets. There is need to put a stop to these kinds of impunity which is actually constitute a threat to our democracy.
But there are speculations that the acting President did not consult the President on this?
There is no way the acting President would not have contacted his boss on this because it is a major policy decision of the government. Those suggesting otherwise are ignorant of the workings of government.
It has been said also that the chairman of the ruling party questioned the powers of the acting President to fire the DSS DG without consulting him. Was he right to have done that?
In the first instance I don’t believe he would say a thing like that. The truth is that he doesn’t have such powers as the chairman of the party. If he made that statement then it is unfortunate and such can only be an abuse of power.
With your experience as the former DSS boss, do you think Daura was made a scapegoat?
The man himself would be in a better position to answer that question. But if he didn’t get directive to do what he did then he should face the music. If he got the directive, it could be regarded as one of the hazards of the job. But even if there was such an order, there is a way he could do it, and extricate himself from problem.
Do you think there is a fifth columnist in all of these like some people have suggested?
I don’t think so. It was an abuse of power and it’s been going on for a long time now. It is just unfortunate that the government had tolerated it for long.
Are you surprised that the President couldn’t act before now?
What signal does it send out? Well, the truth is that the President is always not giving the correct advice that he needed to act on such issues as this. You know there is this believe that that there is a cabal running this government and they have failed overtime to give the President the correct advice. It’s worse now because of the coming elections. That is the cabal that the wife of Mr. President has been talking about and they are antidemocratic in all of their actions.
Do you see this action being reversed when the President resumes back from his vacation?
No, I don’t see it being reversed because like a said earlier, it’s a major policy decision of the government. But if it happens, that will be very dangerous to our democracy. It’s not something anybody could contemplate. The international community condemned the siege like other lovers of democracy.
Does the internal community need to put pressure on the government before it could act in this manner?
If they don’t pressure us, the country could be isolated. If they don’t intervene to address this anomaly, Nigeria could be isolated, and you know what means. We are talking of the tenets of democracy, the unseating of the constituted National Assembly. As far as I’m concern, that’s treason. The international community was right to have intervened and the acting President also did well by taking prompt action in line with what is expected of any civilised government, the world over. His action was to protect our democracy and it is commendable.
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