DSS under fire for describing Emefiele’s lawyers as ‘IPOB members’

THE Department of State Service (DSS) has come under fire after referring to lawyers defending the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, as members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The DSS, in a tweet seen by The ICIR on Tuesday, June 18, also described Emefiele’s legal team, led by Maxwell Okpara, as ‘charge and bail lawyers’.

‘Charge and bail lawyer’ is a derogatory term used to describe some lawyers who hang around court premises, soliciting and lobbying to represent individuals who may need help in securing the bail of persons who have been charged to court.

“Charge and bail, overzealous uninformed IPOB/ESN lawyer Maxwell Okpara mobilises other like minded lawyers against DGSS. Futile Efforts. Well, Nigerians, beware! This is in bad faith. Transferred aggression,” the DSS said in a post on its Twitter handle.

“A Biafran Republic agitator and Outlawed IPOB counsel defending the suspended CBN Governor. Is IPOB defending one of theirs???? What a contradiction…..hmmm…what’s the connection? Is someone telling us something? May Maxwell be properly educated on points of law, please.”

The tweet, which have since been viewed by more than 80,000 people on the micro-blogging site, has generated a lot of angry reactions from Nigerians.

Many Nigerians, who condemned the tweet, wondered why a government agency like the DSS would choose to use some of the words it used in the post.

A human rights lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, who expressed surprise at the statement, described it as disgusting.

Another lawyer, Abdul Mahmud, who called on Nigerians to beware of the DSS’ activities, slammed the statement as disgraceful.

A user, Tony Atambi, who is also a lawyer, noted that the tweet was evidence that the Nigerian security institutions have been compromised.

Reacting to the tweet, Gbenro Adegbola, another Twitter user, described the entire statement as bizarre. He said the tone and language in the post were very odd.

Below are more reactions:

The ICIR reached out to DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, for comments. But he did not respond. He did not respond to a message sent to him on WhatsApp though the app showed he read it.

Emefiele was arrested on June 10 over allegations bordering on economic sabotage and threat to national security, amongst others, and has since remained in the custody of the DSS.

He was arrested and detained shortly after his suspension by President Bola Tinubu on June 9 to pave the way for an investigation into criminal offences he was alleged to have committed as CBN governor.

A judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja gave the DSS one-week ultimatum to either charge him in court or release him. Another judge ordered for his release last week.

Shortly after the court issued the one-week ultimatum, the DSS announced that charges have been filed against Emefiele.

Emefiele was charged with two counts of unlawful possession of a single-barrel shotgun and ammunition without a license under the Firearms Laws of the Federation 2004. The DSS claimed to have found the items during a search of Emefiele’s Ikoyi residence.

Nigerians, including Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), have described the charges against Emefiele as politically motivated.

You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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  1. Sss and Dss are all apc doing bad job for APC nigeria bars association must rise up wake from slumbering or else


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