•State govt accuses FG, DSS of plotting to stage coup against governor
•House summons DG, DSS
Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti and Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The crisis rocking Ekiti State over the arrests of some lawmakers and top government officials yesterday assumed a new twist as members of the state House of Assembly have alleged that they were offered a staggering sum of $1 million to impeach the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose.
The assembly members, who vowed not to allow themselves to be co-opted into any ‘devilish’ plot to truncate the government of Fayose, added that they were prepared to spend the rest of their tenure in DSS cell, instead of joining some “evil doers in this sinister intention.”
At a press conference yesterday, Chairman, assembly Committee on Information, Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan , disclosed that eight lawmakers had been visited by some men who claimed to be officials of the DSS and made financial inducement if they key into the agenda.
Lending credence to Aribisogan’s allegation and buttressing the fact that the DSS operatives were deeply involved in the impeachment plot, the Speaker, Hon Kola Oluwawole, said if Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) could be used in 2006, any government agency could be deployed to hatch the new plan against the governor.
“Our members were told that their names were among those to be arrested and they must ‘cooperate’ if they do not want their bank accounts frozen and be kept in DSS detention indefinitely,” he said.
The lawmakers said the 2006 experience, in which assembly members in the state were hounded into EFCC detention and made to sign impeachment of Fayose on the table of the EFCC chairman will never be repeated in the state.
“The last Friday invasion of the state House of Assembly by armed men of the DSS in which four of our members were abducted, has been established to be a prelude to the clandestine plot to coerce members of the assembly to impeach the governor.
“As at today, even Hon Afolabi Akanni who we confirmed was with the DSS in Abuja is being held incommunicado. No one has been given access to him, not even his lawyers and doctors. We do not have any information as to the whereabouts of the three other lawmakers.
“We are aware of the plot to arrest no fewer than 18 of our members with a view to forcing them to sign impeachment notice against Fayose.
“The plot is being hatched by the same elements who masterminded the impeachment of the governor in 2006, which was eventually declared illegal by the Supreme Court and they are boasting of support of the DSS and the presidency.
“They went on to promise that proper arrangement had been made for the impeachment of the governor with a sum of $1 million already earmarked to be shared among ‘cooperating’ assembly members.
“Also, our members were told that they would be provided with soft-landing in the All Progressives Congress (APC) if they cooperate. One of them revealed that they promised to make him the Speaker, and eventually the acting governor,” the Speakers stated.
Oluwawole further noted that: “We are prepared to spend the rest of our tenure in DSS cell, instead of joining people who we roundly defeated in five straight elections to cause another political instability in the state.
“Most importantly, Fayose is our benefactor. He is our leader on whose political strength we are members of the state House of
Assembly. We can even be called his stooges, we don’t mind. We will never do anything to jeopardise his interest and by extension, interests of the Ekiti people.
“We therefore wish to state unequivocally that we are not interested in any $1 million.”
Meanwhile, the State Executive Council (SEC), the highest decision-making organ of the state, has accused the DSS in cahoots with the federal government of plotting to usurp the Fayose government.
The council charged the international community, civil society organisations and all lovers of democracy to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure immediate release of the members of the state House of Assembly and top government functionaries arrested by DSS for yet to be ascertained reasons.
The SEC said it was illegal and unconstitutional for the DSS to have hounded the victims into cells when nothing incriminating were found on them, describing the scenario as the highest point of political vendetta against the opposition – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The council said this after its third meeting of the year was held in Ado Ekiti last Monday and a statement conveying its position was signed by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kolapo Olusola, and 19 other members.
Four lawmakers, including Hon Sina Animasaun (Ekiti West II), Hon Musa Arogundade(Ado II) , Afolabi Akanni(Efon) and Hon Badejo Anifowose(Moba I), were on March 4 arrested within the assembly complex and whisked to Abuja.
As the dust generated by the arrests was yet to settle, the DSS also nab the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Toyin Ojo, and clamped him into detention.
The council rued how the DSS had allegedly flouted the statute that established it and acted extra-judicially by detaining the suspects for more than 24 hours as prescribed by laws.
However, the House of Representatives has summoned the Director General, Department of State Services, Mr. Musa Lawal Daura, over what it called the invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
Daura is expected to appear within the next 48 hours.
Officials of the DSS last had Friday arrested four members of the state assembly within its premises, drawing condemnation from members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The House resolution followed a motion sponsored as a matter of urgent national importance by the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor, who described the act as abuse of the sanctity of the legislative arm of government.
“The legislature as an institution must be respected and its sanctity must be protected. Its violation is a threat to democracy,” Ogor said.
The Minority Leader cautioned against the DSS usurping the duties of police, adding that the lawmakers were arrested on trumped up charges.
Presiding, Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara referred the matter to the Committee on National Intelligence. ThisDay
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