Release Yakassai, no offence in asking Buhari to resign, Falana tells DSS
Human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has faulted the arrest of Tanko Yakassai by the officials of the Department of State Services, DSS.
A former aide of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, Yakassai was arrested hours after criticising the All Progressives Congress and President Buhari for failing to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.
Yakasai made the statement following the abduction of over 300 schoolgirls of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State.
The Jangebe abduction came almost two weeks after some students and staff of Government Science Secondary School, Kagara, in Niger State were kidnapped by bandits, who killed one (student) in the process.
The Kagara abductees have since been released.
Yakassai, however, condemned the growing insecurity under the watch of Buhari adding that “the APC has failed at all levels.” and asking the president to resign.
His principal has since terminated his appointment with immediate effect according to the Commissioner for Information, Garba Mohammed, who announced the development.
Criticisms have since followed Yakassai arrest by the DSS across the country.
Reacting to the development, Falani, said there was nothing unconstitutional or illegal in what Yakassai said.
Falana, who is the Interim Chairman, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond, said this in a statement yesterday titled, ‘Asking Buhari to Resign is Not An Offence’.
The senior advocate said retired military officers and political party leaders including chieftains of the All Progressive Congress have repeatedly asked Buhari to call it quits due to the worsening insecurity in the country and there is no justification for the arrest and detention of Yakassai.
He noted that in the National Assembly, there had been calls by legislators for Buhari’s resignation or impeachment on the grounds that criminal gangs have taken over the monopoly of violence in the country.
Falana said, since such concerned citizens were never arrested, the harassment of Yakassai is high-handed, discriminatory, and illegal.
The statement read in part, “It is on record that the APC and its leaders including General Buhari; National Leader, Bola Tinubu; Malam Nasir El-rufai and Alhaji Lai Mohammed repeatedly called for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s resignation between 2013 and 2014 yet they were never subjected to any form of intimidation for exercising their freedom of expression at the material time.
“Since the call for President Buhari’s resignation is likely to continue to be made by other concerned individuals and groups over the virtual collapse of the security architecture of the neo-colonial state it is pertinent to draw the attention of the State Security Service to the case of Arthur Nwankwo v the State 1985 6 NCLR 228 where the Court of Appeal charged the Nigerian people to engage in relentless criticism of democratically elected governments.
“In particular, Olajide Olatawura JCA (as he then was of blessed memory) had this to say: The decision of the founding fathers of the present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticise should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided by the constitution must be resisted.”
The ASCAB chairman called for the immediate and unconditional release of Yakassai from illegal custody.
He, however, stated that if the DSS had evidence that Yakassai had committed any criminal offence known to law, he should be transferred to the police for proper investigation and possible prosecution without any delay.
Though after initial denial, the DSS admitted arresting Yakassai, the agency has refused to disclose the reason for the arrest.