The Department of State Services has cleared the air on the authority it has to make the arrest of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele and the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
The agency made this clarification in a press release published on its website on Tuesday, through its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Peter Afunanya, fsi.
According to the DSS, the arrests were carried out based on the authority given it by the Presidency, who, according to “the omnibus powers of the President, as enshrined in the enabling Acts of the SSS and the NSA”, has the “power to delegate ANY assignments he deems fit for a particular Agency to perform”.
It, therefore, warned the public, including five Newspaper publishing platforms and respected legal practitioners, criticizing them for what it termed as a “hatchet job or so it seemed”.
It further stated that, “The judgement that the Service is excessively public or ubiquitous missed the point. The papers manifested predictable bias and patterns.”
The release read in part, “For those who canvass the opinion that the DSS has no business in investigating the matters referred to it are obviously not taking seriously the omnibus powers of the President, as enshrined in the enabling Acts of the SSS and the NSA. As argued by a onetime Director of the DSS, Fubara Duke, “When a law confers on the President power to delegate ANY assignments he deems fit for a particular Agency to perform, I wonder how it falls outside the purview of (ANY) the stipulations of the President’s powers and by extension why the DSS is being faulted for carrying out the President’s directive”. Continuing, he added: “I have heard arguments of cases being thrown out by the courts over questionable prosecutorial powers of the DSS regarding some categories of cases including criminal cases. Without prejudice to the wisdom of the court on such judgements, they should not override the lawful investigative authority of the DSS. Should there be need for prosecution in due course, these determinations would be appropriately evaluated and where/if necessary, appropriate prosecutorial agencies which may include the Attorney General’s Office or other sister agencies may be deployed to prosecute. It is not the first time this has happened”.
“Let it be clear, however, that the DSS will remain unshaken and professional in carrying out its duties. It recommits to diligently operate, as always, within the confines of the law and to uphold the fundamental rights of all Nigerians. The media must, as the fifth estate of the realm, remain balanced, accurate, impartial and accountable. To sustain a deliberate misguidance of the public with any form of misconceptions is detrimental to nationhood. Therefore, to deepen the expected contributions, seeking veracity is not only ethical but obligatory. That should not be asking for too much.”