Lawyer, activist drag DSS to National Assembly over alleged threat
A Port Harcourt-based lawyer, Mr Eugene Odey, and human rights activist, Livingstone Wechie, have dragged the Department of State Services, DSS, to the House of Representatives over alleged threat to their lives.
The petition was addressed to Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives dated April 28, 2017 and titled, Save-Our-Soul from the State Security Services aka “DSS” from assassination threat.
Wechie, a Port Harcourt based human rights activist and social crusader , is Director of Media, Civil Liberties Organization, CLO, South-South and founder of The Integrity Group, a foremost anti-corruption watchdog and advocate for probity. Wechie and his group have also been very vocal on national issues especially policies of government that are allegedly anti-people..
Wechie had approached the Rivers State High Court for the enforcement of his fundamental rights against the DSS as a result of alleged “incessant harassment, arrest, detention and other abuses of his fundamental rights by the DSS whom threatened to cook up treason trial against me, bugged/wiretapped my phones without denial in Court because I attempted to organize the “Occupy Nigeria Season 2” protest against the Federal Government of Nigeria for unilaterally increasing the petroleum pump price without the concurs of the majority of Nigerians”.
The embattled petitioners said Hon. Justice George Omereji of the Rivers State High Court after keenly contested arguments gave judgment against the DSS and awarded the sum of N15 million in damages and cost of litigation in favour of Wechie and further declared that “the incessant harassment, unwarranted and unlawful invitations and detention of Mr. Livingstone Wechie by the DSS amounts to a gross violation of his fundamental rights as guaranteed by statutes” and made additional order directing the DSS to stop further harassment and unwarranted invitations and detention of the applicant” Armed with this order, the duo commenced garnishee proceedings to execute the judgment of court.
Odey claimed that at about 6.42pm on Thursday, April 27, 2017, “I received a telephone call from the Counsel to DSS-Mr. Eze Simeon Chukwuemeka with phone no. 08157941777 where he expressed his grave displeasure in anger about the way I was going on with the matter in executing the judgment, and he said whatever I was looking for I will not get and that he will come after me and my client Livingstone Wechie and that he was going to “deploy the apparatus of state” against us and the judicial officers handling the case which includes the judge in the matter, Justice George Omereji, if I do not back off from the matter.”
He gave the phone number with which a lawyer he claims is of the DSS called him to be 08157941777, and insisted it is the official line of the DSS and from True caller software application, the name on the number is DLS RVCOMMAND which is Director of Legal Services Rivers State Command. “This doubtlessly follows that the call threatening to assassinate me and my client Livingstone Wechie was both sanctioned and commissioned by the DSS which shows that it is an official threat by the agency issued for and on behalf of the DSS by the said Mr. Eze Simeon Chukwumeka whose call to Bar number is SCN064156”.
When The Guardian called the phone number, Truecaller confirmed it to be DLS RVCOMMAND but it rang repeatedly without response. Sources at the DSS headquarters in Abuja maintained sealed lips over the allegation.
After making this statement, Odey said Chukwuemeka terminated the call and all efforts to call him back proved abortive as he refused to pick his calls, thus “I sent him a text acknowledging the threat to my life, that of my client and the judicial officers and it was after this that he sent me a reply in pretext as though my message was misplaced and uncalled for because according to him he was only calling to ask me about our NBA meeting held earlier that day.”
Odey warned that the call from the DSS counsel and the threat to exterminate them or possibly compromise their physical integrity is one that “we do not intend to wave with a hand because we believe there is more to the call than it seems deploying the apparatus of state against me, my client and the judicial officers which includes the Judge in the matter, Justice is a threat that is gathering and very weighty considering the ugly antecedents of the DSS in recent times” and continuous trail of my Client. To my mind it may mean using the apparatus of state to assassinate any or all of us and Mr. Speaker we know how state sponsored crimes are treated in this country.
“It is therefore in the light of the foregoing that I call on you to use your good office and intervene by calling the Counsel concerned and the DSS to order to avert any ugly situation that may cost the lives of innocent Nigerians” the petitioners lamented.