Amnesty International, an International rights group, has expressed its deep concerns over the recent invasion of the office of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) by the operatives of the Department Of State Services, DSS in Abuja.
AI stated that such unlawful invasion by the men of the security agency was shocking and reprehensible.
It added that the invasion could be interpreted to a breach of the provisions of the Constitution as the law enforcement agency acted obviously against extant law.
This was stated on the organisation’s Twitter page on Thursday.
The statement read; “Amnesty International is deeply concerned over the invasion of the office of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) @cislacnigeria by DSS operatives. It is shocking that a law enforcement agency acted without respect for the rule of law.”
SaharaReporters on Wednesday reported that some DSS operatives laid siege to the office of the CISLAC in Jabi, Abuja.
The siege was reportedly exposed by the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa, who disclosed in a letter written to the DSS Director General, Yusuf Bichi.
Musa, popularly known as Rafsanjani in the letter dated December 29, alleged that the operatives insisted on seeing the chief security officer (CSO) of the organisation.
In letter titled, “Intimidation and profiling of civil society groups during Yuletide”, the civil society described the action of the SSS operatives as “unprofessional.
The letter partly read; “On Monday the 27th of December 2021, operatives of your agency, the Department of State Security Services (DSS) stormed the premises of our office, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, the National Chapter of Transparency International, TI Nigeria at No 16 POW Mafemi Crescent, Off Solomon Lar Way, Jabi.
“Laying siege, the operatives demanded to see the Chief Security Officer of the building. On learning about this, our initial thought was that these were individuals masquerading as DSS agents considering the fact that this was not just during the holiday period, but it was on a day declared as a public holiday by the federal government of Nigeria.
“At this point, we cannot jump into conclusion as to the exact reasons behind this gestapo approach; however, this kind of unprofessional visits clearly violates existential rights guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and puts the country on a global map of ‘bad policing’ and seen shrinking voices of citizens demanding for good governance in the interest of all.
“Visits like these further feed fears that the country is gradually snowballing into autocracy with the regular abuse of powers from those parading themselves as agents of the state.
“As an organisation, we believe in the rule of law. We have complied with all statutes and thereby have not violated any law. We urge you to use your good office to put an end to this trend of shrinking civic space and the ongoing attempt to weaken democratic institutions to which the civil society community represents an aspect.”