In a week of brazen display of corruption of power in Nigeria, one that also marks 100 days in office of Nigeria’s military dictator turned democratic ruler, Muhammadu Buhari ordered the invasion of Akwa Ibom’s State House by the country’s secret police, the DSS.
A team of forty-eight operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS, also called SSS), invaded Akwa Ibom State Government House on Thursday, September 3, 2014. Arriving in Hilux vans, the SSS operatives ransacking the premises without a search warrant.
The SSS operatives disarmed the security personnel assigned to the Government House and made straight for the VIP Guest House where immediate past governor and now Senator Godswill Akpabio stayed on his last visit to Uyo, the state’s capital. The team claimed to be acting on intelligence.
The operatives broke the doors, forcing their way into the premises despite pleas for them to wait for Usman, the Julius Berger staff who holds the keys to the apartment. They claimed they were searching for a stash of arms and ammunition and bombs.
According to eye-witness accounts, the Secret Police officers were armed and fierce looking. They searched the entire premises, even the underground units. Eventually, they found a safe and broke it. Contained in the safe was N1 million and $50,000.
Since leaving office, former Governor Akpabio has stayed in the VIP Guest House twice.
Is this what you were looking for?: Governor Udom Emmanuel Livid
Fifty minutes into the invasion, the governor was alerted of the operation and went to confront the SSS officers. Governor Udom Emmanuel met the operatives breaking the safe which contained N1 million and $50,000. “Is this what you were looking for,” Udom asked the security operatives.
When challenged by Governor Udom, one Aliyu, who led the team of DSS operatives admitted that they were carrying out the unlawful invasion under the orders of President Buhari.
Governor Udom immediately called Buhari on the phone and was heard asking in anger, “Is this democracy? Why send these people to invade our government House?”.
When the SSS operatives saw that Udom was livid on the phone, they mellowed and began to apologise. They pleaded with the governor saying they were merely obeying “presidential orders”. Udom angry asked them to go with the estimated $50,000 which they found in the safe, “since that is what they came for”. The SSS operatives declined.
On discovering they had found nothing incriminating in the premises, the SSS officers hurriedly vacated the premises.
See photos of door locks destroyed by the SSS officials below: (Click on any one to enlarge)
DSS DG, Lawal Daura: A Tool In The Hands Of A Dictator
President Buhari appointed Lawal Daura, his kinsman from his hometown in Katsina on July 2, as head of the DSS after firing Ita Ekpeyong. Daura was recalled from retirement as he had retired from the service of the DSS when he reached the mandatory age of 60 according to the Civil Service rules of Nigeria. Daura has been exposed as a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and served on the security committee for Buhari’s presidential campaign.
It would be recalled that there has been considerable persecution of members and perceived sympathisers of the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration by the DSS, since Daura’s appointment. Some notable victims of the said clampdown include the former Chief Security Office (CSO) of Jonathan, Gordon Obua, who was detained in solitary confinement for days.
In addition, former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki’s house was also raided by operatives of the DSS a few weeks ago with subsequent threats of charges for treasonable felony being brought against him over $40,000, seven luxury cars, and seven rifles found in his residence. His passport was unlawfully seized by the DSS.
Dasuki, who served under President Jonathan, is a retired Army colonel and crown prince of the Sokoto Sultanate. He maintains that the raid on his house is a ‘witch-hunt’ by the Buhari government. This week, Dasuki appeared before a Federal judge on charges of possessing a firearm without license. He was granted bail on self recognition.
Asides the aforementioned, the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) for Akwa Ibom, Austin Okojie, who was detained tortured for 13 days and his Rivers State counterpart, Gesila Khan , who was also detained for two weeks by Nigeria’s secret police. The harassment, detention, and torture of electoral officials of the two oil rich states is connected with the interest of President Buhari in reclaiming electoral victory from main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in those states.
None of the INEC officials detained by the DSS have been charged with any crime and the election petitions filed by the APC is being tried at election tribunals.
The DSS, however, is yet to issue an official statement on the circumstances surrounding the unlawful invasion of the Akwa Ibom State Government House.
Akpabio: A Marked Man?
It is believed that this invasion was an attempt on the life of Senator Godswill Akpabio. This week, the Senate Minority Leader was involved in a motor accident on his way to work on Monday. Reportedly, a car belonging to the US Embassy in Abuja collided with his Mercedes Wagon SUV overturning it in Abuja.
Akpabio was hospitalised at the National Hospital, discharged on the same day and flew abroad the next day. He is currently being treated in a London Hospital. Akpabio’s aide who was with him in the vehicle escaped unscratched, lending weight to suggestions that the accident was a direct attack on the person of Senator Akpabio.
Christians In Aso Rock Under Attack
Just this week, Buhari’s government ordered the closure of the Aso Rock Chapel in the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Abuja, Sunday, August 30, 2015, worshippers at the Aso Rock Chapel arrived at church for a service which begins at 7am only to find fierce-looking security operatives preventing access into the church.
When confronted, the security operatives said they were acting on ‘orders from above’. It took the intervention of a visibly embarrassed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to prevail on the security operatives to unseal the Chapel
This shocking denial of the fundamental human rights to worship by the Buhari government was the second move indicating that Buhari plans to shut down Christian activities within the premises of Aso Rock. Two months earlier, on Buhari’s orders, the Children’s Church of the Aso Rock Chapel has been locked up and the children no longer have a venue for their services.