Tuesday

Budget Padding Scandal: Falana’s views on SSS probe hypocritical, says Ekiti assembly

The Ekiti State House of Assembly has criticized human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, (SAN), for questioning the powers of the State Security Services to investigate members of the House of Representatives over their involvement in the padding of the 2016 budget, while he backed the agency when it “invaded” the assembly and arrested a member over allegations of fraud.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogan, on Monday in Ado-Ekiti, said Mr. Falana’s new position on the SSS’ role at the National Assembly and the arrest of members of the Zamfara State House of Assembly over attempt to impeach the state governor was a show of hypocrisy.

Mr. Falana had argued that there was no legal backing for the SSS to investigate budget padding, which he described as “a straight forward case of economic crime.”
According to Mr. Falana, the agency, by virtue of National Security Agencies Act, is strictly limited to the “preservation and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria.”
He also criticised the SSS’ recent arrest and detention of the principal officers and administrative staff of the Zamfara State House of Assembly for attempting to commence impeachment proceedings against Governor Abdulazeez Yari on grounds of alleged corrupt practices.
“Falana should be ashamed that he gave tacit support to the DSS when the agency engaged in illegalities in Ekiti, his home state and now elects to complain when the same DSS extended its illegalities to the House of Representatives and Zamfara State House of Assembly,” Mr. Aribisogan said.
“The question that Mr Femi Falana (SAN) needs to answer is whether he just realised that the duty of the DSS according to the National Security Agencies Act, is strictly limited to the preservation and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria.
“Also, Falana needs to tell Nigerians whether the DSS invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly that he supported was in preservation of internal security of Nigeria.”
He accused Mr. Falana of always finding his voice only when his political allies in his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) were involved.
“The question is, is Falana’s human rights activism only about defending the interests of his political allies in his party, the APC?,” queried Mr. Aribisogan.
“Could Falana have spoken against the DSS arrest of and detention of the principal officers and administrative staff of the Zamfara State House of Assembly if Zamfara was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
controlled State like Ekiti?
“It is our view that a credible rights activist will not blow hot and cold at the same time as being done by Falana, and Nigerians should stop taking self-centred political activists like him seriously.”
Mr. Falana’s view was that the Nigerian government should allow appropriate law enforcement agencies to continue with the case without the SSS, since the lawmakers could challenge the agency’s involvement in court and rubbish the entire investigative process.
“In the light of the foregoing, the Police and the anti-graft agencies should be allowed to get to the root of the criminality of budget padding in the national assembly,” the lawyer had said.
“To facilitate and accelerate the investigation the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives should be compelled to set out the details of the budget of the National Assembly.”
-

Related Post