Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, Prof Ben Angwe, said the commission will investigate the travel restriction allegedly placed on the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and one other governor from the South-South by the federal government.
Angwe made this known while addressing members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, who were in his office to submit a petition on the alleged placement of travel ban on Fayose and the refusal of the Department of State Services, DSS, to obey a Federal High Court judgment ordering it to pay N5 million damages on the illegal arrest and detention of a member of the House, Afolabi Akanni, for 18 days.
He commended members of the House for their commitment to the sustenance of the rule of law in the country and cooperation with the executive arm of government in Ekiti State and urged lawmakers in other states to emulate them.
The House had petitioned the NHRC, National Assembly, Amnesty International, embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom over the alleged plot by the federal government to prevent Governor Fayose from traveling outside Nigeria without getting clearance from the DSS.
The petition, which was signed by the Speaker, Kolawole Oluwawole, was submitted by the Deputy Speaker, Segun Adewumi; Chairman, House Committee on Information, Gboyega Aribisogan, and Chairman, House Committee on Health, Samuel Omotoso.
Part of the petition reads; “We write to bring to your attention another impending infringement on the rights of the Governor of our state, Mr Ayodele Fayose, and by extension the entire Ekiti by the federal government.
“A few weeks ago, our governor was reliably informed that President
Buhari had directed that he should be banned from traveling outside Nigeria. This reliable information was to be confirmed through reports in two major national dailies on Sunday, May 29 titled;
‘2 govs under watch, face travel ban’.
“From our findings, one of the governors being referred to is our own governor and we wish to state like we have always done that we, the members of Ekiti State House of Assembly, are with the governor on everything that he does.
“Even ordinary Nigerians do not require clearance from the DSS or any security agency to travel outside Nigeria unless in compliance with a court order, and as at today, there is no court order placing travel restriction on our governor. Issues concerning Fayose cannot even be entertained in any court by virtue of the immunity he enjoys as provided in Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“We however know as always that this latest plot is as a result of our governor’s critical stance on Buhari’s government and its anti-people policies and we make bold to say that no amount of intimidation, harassment and oppression will cow the governor from exercising his fundamental rights to freedom of expression and to hold opinions as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended).
“We are aware that this is coming as a result of the failure of the plot to use the DSS to coerce lawmakers to remove the governor. We are also aware that a plot to out-rightly take the governor ‘out of circulation’ cannot be ruled out as those advising President Buhari are said to be of the opinion that our governor has become a threat to his re-election bid and that everything must be done to ‘whip the governor to line’ before 2018.
“Going by the antecedents of the federal government and the DSS under the president’s kinsman, Alhaji Lawal Daura, it is certain that there is nothing that cannot be attempted, no matter how unlawful.’’