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Falana Slams DSS Over Ultimatum Issued To NNPC, Oil Marketers




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Prominent Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, has berated the Department of State Services (DSS) over the 48-hour ultimatum issued to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and oil marketers.

Naija News reports that the security agency, on Thursday, directed the NNPC and oil marketers to end the lingering fuel scarcity in the country over security threats.

In a statement by its Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, the DSS said failure to make petrol available to Nigerians would prompt the services to activate its operations across the country.

Reacting in an interview on Channels Television on Friday, Falana described the ultimatum as an empty threat, saying that nobody is going to be arrested and prosecuted.

He said it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that the NNPC and oil marketers make fuel available for Nigerians across the nation.

The lawyer said if the national oil company fails to supply petroleum products to all parts of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari should call the officials to order and possibly sack them.

He said: “(As) you know, every year, at the end of the year – once it is Christmas – there must be the artificial supply of fuel,” he said. “The ultimatum will not work because there is no sanction for impunity in Nigeria.

“The State Security Service (SSS) does not operate under the law in Nigeria. It does its own thing. There is nobody to call the agency to order. They will know that it’s just an empty threat because nobody is going to be arrested and prosecuted to teach a lesson.

“The other day, toxic fuel was brought to Nigeria. The government promised, ‘We’re going to deal with them, it will never happen again.’ Was anybody arrested? Was anybody prosecuted? It’s the same thing because they know the people behind it. It’s like oil theft. They know them.”

Falana acknowledged the security concerns raised by the DSS, saying that the continued presence of long queues at filling stations could lead to economic sabotage and serious security problems.

The senior lawyer, however, noted that the police was saddled with the responsibility of maintaining internal security in the country and not the secret service.

He said: “So, this agency is a secret agency required to submit reports: ‘We fear that there will be a threat to the security in Nigeria.’ And the president will then take appropriate action. We must run this country in line with the provisions of the law.

“That (enactment establishing the DSS) is a decree made by the military. But now, we have the constitution. Section 215 has imposed a duty on the police to maintain the internal security of the country.

“But what the SSS – not DSS; it is not a department of state security. It is not a department of the Presidency. It’s the State Security Service for all of us. That body is required to submit reports to the government: ‘This problem may lead to insecurity. What can we do very quickly?’ The internal security of our country is the role of the police.”

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows.