(Onitsha Nigeria,7th November 2015)-The Coalition of SoutheastHuman Rights Organizations operating in the SoutheastNigeria wishes to alertNigerians and the international community concerning the unconstitutional resurrection of NigerianState Security Decree 2 of 1984 (Detention of Persons Without Trial); otherwise called Decree No 2 of 1984, which allows for indefinite and incommunicado detention of Nigeriancitizens without recourse to competentand diligent judicial process. Also unconstitutionally resurrected with Decree No. 2 of 1984 is another obnoxious and anti democracy decree called Decree No.4 of 1984 (PublicOfficers Protection against False Accusation); extensively used to arrest and clamp media practitioners into indefinite and incommunicado detention for publishing reports deemed inimical to the interestsof members of the ruling military brigandage or cabal. The two infamous decrees were promulgated in 1984 by the currentsixth civilian President of Nigeria, Retired MajorGen Muhammadu Buhari when he served as Nigeria’s post SecondRepublic maximum military ruler.
It is vividlyrecalled that a former ministerof police affairsand a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr. Yakubu Lame had recently disclosed publicly of how uncomfortable the current Presidency is with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and the Principles of the Rule of Law and called for suspension of same and enactment of and bestowment of special powers on President Muhammadu Buhari to enable him to perform. Our extensive checks have further revealed that the two criminal decrees appeared to have been suspended, but not repealed legislatively when the civilian governance was restored in 1999.
Also, of all the State coerciveor armed security establishments answerable, by administration and control, to the Presidency, the Department of State Security Services (DSS) is closestand directly controlled by President Muhammadu Buhari. In other words, the DSS performs special duties function for President Muhammadu Buhari, which makes it believethat it is above the law and the
Constitution of Nigeria 1999. This is also containedin Section 3 (2) (a) of the Nigerian Security Agencies Act Cap 74, Laws of Nigeria 2004. The DSS is one of the three successor-security intelligence agencies of the moribund NationalSecurity Organization (NSO), which was extensively deployed and usedbyMajor Gen Muhammadu Buharito enforce his two infamousdecrees under reference in 1984 leadingto countless disappearances, unlawful arrests, long custodial detentions, tortureand unlawful killings.
Today, just less than 160 days in office of PresidentMuhammadu Buhari, the DSS has already run riot on citizensparticularly the dissenting voices already marked out as presidential enemies. From Gordon Obua to Sambo Dasuki; from Rivers and Akwa Ibom State ResidentElectoral Commissioners to Hon Justice Muazu Pindigi; and from Sambo Dasuki again to Citizen Nnamdi Kanu, the list of the DSS riotous conducts and operational brigandage in less than 160 days of the Buhari’s Presidency has continuously been on rising. Of all the coercive or armed security establishments under the present Buhari’s administration, the DSS is the most extensivelyused and deployed by the Presidency to perpetrate and perpetuate all kinds of anti democratic and anti constitutional conducts.
These explain our inclusion of the DSS in the hall of infamyaward and bestowment of Chief Enemy of Democracy & Rule of Law Award on it. The DSS’s recent statementin which it claimed that it is a respecter of the rule of law and judicialprocess is vexatious, insulting and a mockeryof the country’s constitutional and pluralistic democracy.
Our collective questions are: where lies the DSS’s pro democratic and rule of law claims when it autocratically invaded and laid siege on the residenceof Sambo Dasuki who is under the protection of a court of competent jurisdiction? What has the so called “failure to honour presidential committee’s invitation on arms procurement” got to dowith an interior intelligence security body and its riotousinvasion of his residence? Is a presidential committee on arms procurement a court or judicialpanel of enquiry? Why did the DSS not arrestformer Governor Rotimi Amechi to enforce his appearance before GovernorWike’s panel of enquiry in Rivers State? What is the securityrationale behind DSS invitation of
Sambo Dasuki’ssurety (BoniHaruna)? HasSambo Dasuki jumped his court bail? AssumingSambo Dasuki has jumped court bail, is DSS a court and which bench warrant is it executing? In all these, where is the NigeriaPolice Force and has DSS takenover the constitutional and statutory functions of the Police?
Our speaking out is also strikingly emboldened and gladdened by yesterday’s open and courageous expression of free speech by millionsof Nigerian citizens of Southeast, South-south, northern minorities and other Nigerian moderate citizens all over the world; registering in unmistakable forms their contempt and disapproval over the brazen re-introduction by the Buhari’s Presidency of exclusivist, segregated, primordialist, ethnocentric, oligarchic, corruptive, archaic, discriminatory, suppressive and oppressive presidential governing styles inNigeria. The collective meaning of the thunderous free speech expressedyesterday (6th November 2015) in hundreds of Nigeriancities and foreign capitalcities is that Nigerians under Buhari’s administration are not ready to be taken to Kabul (Afghanistan) or Harare (Zimbabwe) and that anythingshort of them being taken to Seoul (South Korea) or Taipei( Taiwan) is roundly and perpetually rejected.
The saying still goes that “those whomake peacefulchange impossiblemake violentchange inevitable”. That is to say that the spate of agitationfor self determination that has gripped Nigeria of present time is furtherlegitimized by the Buhari’s Presidency and its iron fisted leadership styles. Rather than de- escalating structural imbalances and injustices inherent in the country’spolitical landscape by running an all inclusive and rule of law and pluralism powered constitutional democracy, the Buhari’s administration has continuously escalatedsuch structural imbalances and injustices. Nigeria under Buhari’s administration has not only shown a basketfulof gloomy signs of constitutional dictatorship, but the country is also being matched steadily to the cave-corridors of power of MullahMohammed Omar of Taliban Afghanistan.
Center for Human Rights& Peace Advocacy,Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC),Southeast Good Governance Forum, Forum for Equity,Justice &Defense of Human Rights,Society Advocacy Watch Project, Anambra Human Rights Forum and PADDI Foundation, have resolved to raise an alarm concerning the dangers of aiding and abetting of Nigeria’ssteady drift into anarchic dictatorship.
Of the greatest concern to us is the rationale behind the continued detention of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu by the DSS on the orders of PresidentMuhammadu Buhari. We haveco-searched all the 320Sections of the 1999 Constitutionand there is no Section orprovision that empowers the President to detain a citizenin defiance of legitimate judicial bail; which is why we firmlyconcluded that PresidentBuhari has unconstitutionally resurrected and resuscitated the infamous Decree No. 2 of 1984 and possibly renamed it State Security (Detention of Citizens Above Judicial Bail) Act of 2004; under which he magisterially and autocratically detains Citizen Nnamdi Kanu; with intent to retainingand using same to clamp other criticalcitizens into detention-above-judicial bail throughout his tenure. As we speak, Citizen Kanu has been detained extra-judicially (in defiance of judicial bail given to him by the court trying him for three-count charge and non-capital alleged offenses) by the Buhari’s Presidency for sixteen (16) days and less than elevendays to his judicialreturned date for trial (18th November 2015). We challenge the Buhari’s Presidency to openlyproof us wrong by telling Nigerians and the world the section of the 1999 Constitution that empowers it to detain citizens including Citizen Nnamdi Kanu beyondthe powers of the judiciary under the country’s current constitutional and pluralistic democracy.
Even in exceptional situations provided in the 1999 Constitution in cases involvingarrest and detentionof citizens accused of capital offenses for investigative reasons, the Constitution expressly directs for unconditional release (discharged and acquitted) of such detained citizens in or within three months if they are not chargedto court and refusedcustodial bail. But in the case of CitizenNnamdi Kanu, it is shocking, alarming and abominable that a citizen chargedcompetently before the Abuja Municipal Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 11 for misdemeanor offenses (non death penalty or life imprisonment) of criminal intimidation,
managing and belonging to unlawfulsociety and criminalconspiracy, said to be contraryto Sections 97, 97b and 397 of the Penal Code (applicable in northern Nigeria) is still being detainedagainst the orders and processes of the same trial court. As we speak, the DSS has flouted three competent orders of the Court (production, transfer and release)and has vehemently refusedto give oral or written reasonswhy it has continuedto keep him in perpetual captivity till date.
Finally, bearing in mind the forthcoming 67th anniversary of the UDHR or worldhuman rights day and considering the unfolding events in the country highlighted above, we have resolvedto name the Department of State Security Services as Chief Enemy of Democracy& Rule of Law in Nigeriafor 2015. Abooklet containing the DSS constitutional sins and breachesin 210 days or seven months of Buhari’s administration will be unfolded on 10th December 2015 (UDHR Day) as further reasons for the award.
We call on all Nigerians and the international community not to fold their arms and watch the country’s hard-earned democracy and its pluralistic constitutionalism destroyed by the present presidential dispensation. All hands must be on deck to save Nigeriaand her people from descending to intractable anarchy. We join other well meaning citizens of Nigeria and the world to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to releaseCitizen Nnamdi Kanu from the DSS captivity.
If it is true that Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s physicaland psychological health as well as his detentioncondition is deteriorating terminally; then President Muhammadu Buhari should personally and vicariously be held responsible locally, internationally, presidentially, post presidentially and posthumously.
For: Coalitionof the Southeast based Human RightsOrganizations:
1. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)
For: Anambra State Branchof the Civil Liberties Organization
2. Emeka Umeagbalasi (+2348174090052)
For: International Society forCivil Liberties & theRule of Law
3. Comrade PeterOnyegiri (+2347036892777)
For: Center for Human Rights & PeaceAdvocacy
4. Comrade SamuelNjoku (+2348039444628) For: HumanRights Club (a project of LRRDC)
5. Comrade Justus UcheIjeoma(+2348037114869)
For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights
6. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601) For: Society Advocacy Watch Project
7. Obianuju Joy Igboeli,Esq. (+2348034186332) For: Anambra HumanRights Forum
8. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410) For: Southeast Good Governance Forum
9. Eze Eluchie, Esq. (+2348175177880) For: PADDI Foundation