A civil society group, Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative on Monday approached the Federal High Court, Abuja Division seeking it compel the Directorate of State Security Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police Force to ascertain the veracity of claim that the Deputy Senate president, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege was an ex-convict in the United States of America (USA).
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The group in suit no: FHC/ABJ/CS/555/2020 is seeking an order granting them leave to apply for judicial review by way of order of mandamus compelling the Director General of the DSS and the Inspector General of the Nigeria police force (NPF) to forthwith investigate, arrest and prosecute the Deputy Senate president over his alleged conviction by the hearing department of the state bar court in Los Angeles, California ,USA on 30th November, 1995 for felony involving moral turpitude to wit, forgery of cheque in the amount of $890 with which he intended to defraud the Bank of America, Ahmed Majome and Elpert Defritas in violation of California penal code section 470.
Counsel to the group, Mr Edward Ejembi Omaga who spoke to reporters shortly after filing the suit argued that it was incumbent on the DSS and the NPF to probe into the issue in the interest of the country.
According to him: “The plaintiffs are here and what we are saying this morning is for them to have written to the DSS and police on 17th of January and on 22nd of May they repeated the same letter asking them to profile properly, to investigate properly and see a way of prosecuting the person of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege who happens to be the deputy Senate president at the moment in connection with his conviction in the USA.
“Where a letter is written to the security agencies which has what we call statutory duties to do a particular job, the court can compel them by order of mandamus. That is what we have filed this morning.
“The grouse of the plaintiff in this matter is that they have done their research across the country, across the globe, they have discovered judgement of the state court of California, they have also discovered a supreme court judgement in California where the person of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, then he was in the USA as Augustine Omo-Agege with the Ovie abbreviated in the middle but on coming to Nigeria because of his record in the USA he decided to change his name to Ovie Omo-Agege to contest election.
“But then what we are saying is such a person by the time he took position or before he even contested, the DSS which has the duty of profiling people according to section 1, sub section 2 , section 3 and section 8 of the national security agency Act 1986, coupled with instrument 1 of 1999 when the civilians came to power extended the power of the DSS to cover profiling of individuals or anybody to counter terrorism.
“We have written to them once , twice and they refused to act, they refused to make arests, they refused to invite the man for questioning, they refused to check and tell Nigerians whether this person can be arrested or whether he can be prosecuted or whether he can even be removed or not fit for the office.
“Today we are in court to say DSS do your work, the Nigeria police do your work against the person of Senator Omo-Agege in this case. If you look at the processes, you will see that there is need to take leave of court to be able to get mandamus to be granted for leave of court.
“We have filed a motion exparte for that leave and once that leave is granted, the rules of court say you file a motion on notice together with the leave which we have also done seeking that the action of the police and the DSS for not acting, for keeping quite is wrong, it is illegal. It is unconstitutional. They should be compelled to do their work, arrest, investigate and prosecute.
“The third defendant the Deputy Senate president should be compelled to step aside from his office. Let him step aside because if he is under investigation, and the person you are investigating sits in that office , he might interfere with the process. If they finish their work and they clear him, he can come back and take his seat.”
Omaga also raised an alarm that he might be detained by the DSS over his role on the matter.
He said: “The DSS on Friday sent me a text message to report at the national headquarters. I am not surprised know what Nigeria is. When you raise an issue against a high profile politician, that is when the DSS go to work, that is when they invite the lawyer, activists and begin to harass the journalists.
“I want tell us that if by 11 o clock I get there and spend more than two hours, please you people should raise alarm that Edward Ejembi Omada , that the lawyer fighting for this group has been arrested by the DSS. Let them be very careful because we must not see the DSS as tool in the hands of politicians in this country by intimidating activists, lawyer or journalists in this country. I hope what happened to Sowore would not happen to me.”