By Goodluck Ikiebe in Abuja
An Abuja-based legal practitioner, Pelumi Olajengbesi, has threatened “immediate legal” action against the Department of State Service (DSS), if its operatives fail to return to Journalists all items they “unlawfully and forcefully” taken fron them and other media personnel at the premises of a Federal Court in Abuja on Monday.
Barrister Olajengbesi made the threat in Abuja on Monday in an interview with some Journalists after the altercation that ensued between them and Journalists who turned up to cover the trial of the associates of Mr.Sunday Igboho, described as the Yoruba Nation agitator, at the premises of the court.
The lawyer decried what she described as “the brutal harassment of journalists and media personnel by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Monday morning at the Federal High Court, Abuja.”
The legal practitioner,who noted that the action of the operatives amounted to obstruction of Journalists from carrying out their lawful assignment added it was also an assault on the hallowed chambers of the Federal High Court.
“By cordoning off the court’s premises from Press access and intimidating the newsmen in court away from the spectre of the trial, the DSS erred and aggrieved the very sanctity of the courtroom,” the legal practitioner noted.
“The premises of the Federal High Court and indeed any court in the country is open to all Nigerians and professionals,it is simply not the property of the DSS over which they can exert such control,”she said.
Barrister Olajengbesi explained that the lawless action of the DSS on the premises of the Federal High Court, was an affront on the integrity and independence of the judiciary and “against the letters of the Nigerian constitution and other relevant statutes on the matter.”
“As a matter of urgency, President Muhammadu Buhari must call his agents to order and the Minister of Justice must equally re-orientate the DSS, on the extent and limits of their powers under the law.
Barrister Olajengbesi advised the DSS to refrain from “this unlawful path”, adding that “it negates their very own existence as a creation of the law.”