By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Department of State Services (DSS) has rejected the judgment of the Federal High Court in Awka, Anambra state, which ordered it to apologise and pay N2 million to former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nasir el-Rufa’i.
It would be recalled that the DSS restricted the movement of the former minister during the governorship election in the state in 2013. DSS said it would appeal the case, saying some facts might have been overlooked in the case.
The DSS Deputy Director of Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, said in a statement in Abuja, that the 1999 Constitution empowered the service to detain any suspect for not more than 48 hours before recourse to a court of law.
According to her, “As a responsive service, we hold the Judiciary and its sanctity in high esteem; but when you disagree with certain pronouncements of court, you have the right to appeal, and in this case, we will appeal.
“The instrument setting up the DSS and the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gives the service statutory powers to detain and investigate any suspect for not more than 48 hours before recourse to a court of law. In this instance, the complainant was not confined or ‘detained’ for more than two hours.
“If we cannot intercept, detain and investigate, then we would, with due respect, be operating like any ministry of the federal government.
“It is also pertinent to clarify that the service never imposed a general restriction on movement during the elections, as averred.
“It is the duty of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take measures that are necessary for the smooth conduct of any election; and in this case, they deemed it proper to restrict movement during voting hours,” the statement said.