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Mailafia’s invitation by DSS is harassment, says group

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Nicholas Kalu, Abuja

The National Consultative Front (NCFront) has described the invitation of one of its leaders, Dr Obadiah Mailafia, by the Department of State Services (DSS) in Plateau State as harassment.

The group in a statement by its Head of Public Affairs Bureau, Dr Tanko Yunusa, in Abuja on Friday said they received with dismay Mailafia’s invitation requesting him to appear before the security agency on Monday September 14, 2020.

This would be the third time Mailafia would be invited by the DSS.

He was also invited the Police Force Headquarters, who said his name came up in an investigation they were carrying out. Though he honoured the first two DSS invitations, he declined the police invitation, which he challenged in court.

Mailafia, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, had then resigned his appointment at the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies as a directing staff.

All these follows a statement by Mailafia in the media recently that a governor from the northern part of the country is a sponsor of Boko Haram.

A statement by Yunusa in Abuja read, “NCFront believes in the right of every Nigerian to freely express themselves in civil society especially in a democracy as enshrined in the universal fundamental principles of human rights but we are shocked to discover that Nigeria today is being run like a dictatorship by the current administration, which has developed a great penchant for gaging Nigerian citizens, denying them of their constitutional rights of freedom of expression and peaceful dissention.

“We, as concerned Citizens, have reviewed Dr Obadiah’s interviews, which was claimed to have prompted the curious invitation by security agencies and can not find any serious threat or breach in it to warrant his being constantly harassed by the security agencies, especially the Police and the DSS.

“We also note that Nigeria is currently bedeviled by aggravated insecurity that threatens the very existence of the country and would expect the security agencies to be preoccupied with dealing with such deadly existential threats against the country rather than concentrating all their energies on repressing a responsible citizen into silence. In a democracy, the citizens are protected by the law to freely express themselves without any form of intimidation by government. However, it is increasingly obvious that this government does not appreciate that vital component of democracy judging by the manners it has so far treated Nigerians who do not agree with its policies including journalists. This is not only unacceptable but absolutely reprehensible.

“The NCFront hereby calls on the government to refrain forth with from further harassment of Dr Obadiah Mailafia and other Leaders of the Front by calling its security agencies to order. We wish to state clearly that we consider the incessant harassment of our Leaders and Allies, including Dr Mailafia by the police and other security agencies as a serious threat to our constitutional rights and wellbeing. We demand that nothing untoward should happen to any of our Leaders and associates to avoid a major mass action.

READ ALSO: DSS invitation: Powerful voices want to silence me — Mailafia

“For the avoidance of doubt, Obadiah Mailafia is an accomplished professional who, all his life, has worked for the progress and prosperity of Nigeria and has no criminal records anywhere in the world. He has served meritoriously as CBN’s deputy governor and performed creditably well in all other institutions he has served home and abroad. He does not deserve to be treated like a common criminal as he is currently being treated by the Nigerian State. We therefore unequivocally condemn this maltreatment of a respectable Nigerian like him and we stand firmly by him in this hour of his travails.

“NCF considers incessant invitations and hours of punitive interrogation of Dr Mailafia by the police and DSS as being injurious to his peace and well being. He must not be allowed to go through this sort of torture simply because he granted a harmless interview and we have cause to believe that his life is in serious danger. Painting Dr Mailafia in a bad light and attempting to pin on him an image of criminality is not only preposterous but also sinister.

“The NCFront, as the main political alternative to the ruling powers in Nigeria, is however determined to ensure that the rights of every Nigerian is protected, including the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protests against policies of government that are inimical to the wellbeing of all Nigerians. No Nigerian must be made to feel like an outcast or second class citizen in his/her country on account of speaking the truth to power.

“Lastly, NCFront demands that all acts of citizens’ witch hunting by security agencies must stop and Dr Obadiah Mailafia must be allowed to enjoy his constitutionally guaranteed freedom by stopping the incessant invitations to him for interrogations, as the matter for which he is being perennially invited for questioning is already before a competent court of law and therefore Nigeria’s Security agencies must be law abiding in respecting the rule of law and allowing the ongoing judicial process take precedence. NCFront shall henceforth hold the security agencies, especially the police and the DSS, responsible for his wellbeing and safety.“

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