The Department of State Service (DSS) and its director-general, Yusuf Bichi, have told the Federal High Court that they cannot be compelled to prosecute those accused of aiding the escape of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
According to Punch, the assertion was made in their notice of preliminary objection which was filed in response to a suit seeking an order of mandamus to compel them and the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute certain individuals for alleged culpability in Kanu’s escape.
Federal High Court in Abuja, led by Justice John Tsoho, had approved the commencement of the suit seeking to compel the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Service (DSS) to prosecute some people for allegedly aiding Nnamdi Kanu’s escape from Nigeria.
Recall that some individuals proposed for arrest and prosecution include Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, Tochukwu Uchendu and Emmanuel Shallom Ben, who stood as surety for Kanu’s bail in 2017.
Also included is a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode.
According to the plaintiff, one Isiah Ayugu, the rest are “all those who worked together to propagate and spread the inciting lies and falsehood that Nnamdi Kanu was abducted, arrested, kidnapped, detained, killed and assassinated by the Nigerian Army when indeed they were well aware of his whereabouts because they played roles in helping Nnamdi Kanu to disappear from Nigeria.”
The DSS and its boss, however, insisted that not even the president could tell them how to contain threats to national security.
The presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho, had on November 9, 2018, granted the plaintiff leave to proceed with the suit and serve same on the respondents.
Tsoho, on November 22, fixed January 11 for the hearing of the various joinder applications.
The DSS and its DG, however, asked that the suit be struck out by the court, as they contended that the court lacked the power to mandate the doing of a discretionary act and the jurisdiction to hear the case.
They also contended that the plaintiff lacked the locus standi (the legal right) to initiate the suit.
They insisted that containing national security threats is a matter of discretion which the court and even the nation’s president cannot interfere with.
They added that the DSS “must act within the latitude of available resources” and as such they would only allocate resources to investigate matters “based on the situation on ground.”
The case has been adjourned till January 9 for further hearing.