The Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has urged the Department of State Security, DSS, to focus on issues of national security and stop the harassment of its officials.
Four officials of the council; Chairman, Emmanuel Ogbeche, Vice Chairman, Osaretin Osadebamwen, Secretary, Ochiaka Ugwu, and Treasurer, Aisha Kadala, were at the FCT Command of the Service on Friday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 7, 2021, respectively, on a petition by a certain Taiwo Abubakar.
Abubakar, who the Union said is unknown to it, had alleged in two separate petitions that the officials leased out a part of the building and converted the money to their personal use, a claim denied by the officials.
The chairman was specifically alleged to be living extravagantly, flying private jet as well as having fake academic credentials from the University of Calabar and fond of anti-government posts on social media.
On Tuesday, the council officials who arrived the DSS FCT Command office by 12:05pm did not leave until 4:23pm.
In a statement after their ordeals, the NUJ FCT asked the secret police to concentrate on the weightier matter of national security and stop being used in matter outside their purview.
“We are not unaware of efforts by some faceless individuals masquerading as members to cause disaffection in the NUJ FCT Council.
It is a shame that the DSS will yield itself to such obnoxious tactics. If the Service was focused on national security, it will not dabble into matter that it should have done due diligence on.
“To begin to ask NUJ FCT Council officials to validate what are outright falsehoods and subjecting them to psychological and physical trauma is unfortunate and regrettable.
“If the Service were that diligent, it should have known that the Chairman of Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, graduated from the University of Calabar, and did his National Youth Service in Lafia, Nasarawa state. Besides, the possession of the same are not necessary prerequisite in running for office in the NUJ when there are other qualifications in that regard.
“Also, it is a wonder that the DSS has now taken on the functions of anti-corruption agencies over a lease that was sanctioned by the Congress of the Union.
“The idea of trying to cower the Union and its officials from performing their constitutional roles of holding government and its officials accountable as well as weaken citizens’ rights to hold and air their opinions is undemocratic and an infringement on constitutionally guaranteed rights,” a statement from the Council stated.