……Says there’s Foul play in the entire processes
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions has directed the Nigerian Intelligent Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Security (DSS) to remove the name of Nigeria-born, Dutch environmental human rights activist, Comrade Sunny Ofehe from their watchlist.
This is as the committee exonerated the Hope For Niger Delta Campaign (HNDC) founder of any wrongdoing.
It would be recalled that Comrade Ofehe whose activities focus on environmental degradation in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, was placed on NIA and DSS’ watchlist in 2009 following his continued criticisms of the Shells Multi-national Companies. As an environmental activist, Comrade Ofehe through his Hope for Niger Delta Campaign has been supporting farmers’ plights whose lands have been devastated as a result of the oil extraction and exploration and have also organized both international and local events to draw attention to the plight of the Niger Delta Region.
He petitioned the Director-Generals of the two security agencies; the Department of State Security Services (DSS) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions for allegedly including his name on the agency’s Watch-list thereby challenging the placement of his name on the watchlist.
The Committee which is chaired by Senator Akinyelure Patrick Ayo had a public hearing on the matter last week Wednesday where the Department of State Security Services (DSS) was unavoidably absent but the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) was represented by the Deputy Director on Special Duties Mr. Stanley Abana, however, the NIA official said they never placed his name on the watch-list, in fact he said, they are not in a position to place any name on watch-list.
Senator Sam Egwu noted that the oil companies may have a hidden hand in trying to frustrate him because he’s exposing their dealings in the Niger Delta Region, he noted that going by the explanation there’s possibility that someone who is not in a higher position is in connivance with this agencies to frustrate Comrade Ofehe on his activities against the shells”
“I fill personally embarrassed that a Nigerian can be subjected to a restriction of coming to his country without any define offense, whether is the oil company that sponsored this or the agency of government we must get to the root of this matter and it must be settled”. Senator Smart Adeyemi. Said.
Senator Degi Biobarakuma from Bayelsa East also noted that if Comrade Ofehe was fighting for his people then, this is expected and urged the agencies involved to remove his name if he’s innocent.
The Senate Committee further adjoined the hearing to Tuesday, 12th April 2022 for hearing and possible resolution between all parties, however, the National Intelligence Agency and the Department of State Security fragrantly did not honor the invitation of the Senate which further stalled the process.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition Senator Akinyelure Patrick Ayo charged the DG’s of both agencies to allow Comrade Sunny Ofehe to move freely without any harassment, intimidation, and public violation of any kind in and around the country until both agencies come forward with a valid document showing that Comrade Ofehe is guilty of any offense that should warrant his name to be placed on a watchlist. He also noted that Nigerian Ambassadors abroad have given a good recommendation about Sunny Ofehe which shows how good the man is.
The committee Chairman, who lamented on behalf of the committee members urged the NIA DG and DSS DG to work together and ensure Ofehe’s name is cleared from the watch list and make his movement hitch-free in Nigeria and beyond, noting that the man has a fundamental human right for free movement as a guarantee by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria.
Comrade Ofehe who also lamented the flagrant disrespect for the lawmaking body of the country by the agencies said he has used all possible domestic means to resolve this issue and if it continues he will not hesitate to apply international means in ensuring that his name is cleared.
Senator Bamidele Michael asserted that by all indications Comrade Sunny Ofehe is innocent except proving guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.