We will appeal court judgment on el-Rufai – DSS

El-RufaiThe Department of State Services (DSS), has said it would appeal the judgment of the Federal High Court, Awka, which ordered it to apologise and pay N2 million to a former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nasir el-Rufai, for restricting his movement during the governorship election in Anambra State in 2013.

The service rejected the order, saying some facts may have been overlooked in the case, noting that it would therefore appeal the judgment.

Deputy Director, Public Relations, DSS, Marilyn Ogar, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said the 1999 Constitution empowered the service to detain any suspect for not more than 48 hours before recourse to a court of law.

According to her, the Department would be operating like a ministry if it cannot intercept, detain and investigate suspects.

She said, “As a responsive Service, we hold the Judiciary and its sanctity in high esteem, but when you disagree with certain pronouncements of Court, you have the right to appeal and in this case, we will appeal.

“The Instrument setting up the Service and the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended gives the Service statutory powers to detain and investigate any suspect for not more than 48 hours before recourse to a Court of Law. In this instance, the complainant was not confined or ‘detained’ for more than two hours.

“If we cannot intercept, detain and investigate, then we would, with due respect, be operating like any Ministry of the Federal Government.”

Ogar denied that the DSS imposed a general restriction on movement during the elections as averred by el-Rufai, noting that it was the duty of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to take measures necessary for the smooth conduct of any election, “and in this case they deemed it proper to restrict movement during voting hours,” she added.