SSS lambasts Ezekwesili over airport arrest

Oby Ezekwesili
Oby Ezekwesili

Ms. Ogar accuses Ezekwesili of feeling too big to subject herself to security checks

The Department of State Security, DSS, has attacked the former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, for complaining over her arrest by security operatives at the Abuja airport early Monday.

Mrs. Ezekwesili, who leads the BringBackOurGirls campaign for the abducted Chibok schoolgirls, was held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport on her way to the United Kingdom for a scheduled engagement.

Operatives of the State Security Services seized her travelling documents without a formal explanation, and delayed her for about 30 minutes.

Mrs. Ezekwesili was later released after the arrest drew widespread condemnations on social media.

Responding to the arrest late Monday, the SSS accused the former minister of arrogance and display of “unnecessary self-importance” in the face mounting security challenges in the country.

“I don’t know why some people will sometimes arrogate to themselves unnecessary importance when we have serious security challenges in our hands,” a spokesperson for the department, Marilyn Ogar, said. “Government has asked the SSS to be at the airports. Statutorily, SSS clears all passengers travelling out or coming into the country.”

Mrs. Ezekwesili is one of the leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign group, which is pressurizing the Nigerian government to act more decisively and rescue the over 250 schoolgirls abducted by the extremist Boko Haram sect from their dormitory at Chibok, Borno state over three months ago.

Oby Ezekwesili
Former Minister, Oby Ezekwesili

The former minister has in the past one year become one of the most vociferous critics of the Jonathan administration.

Apart from leading the sit-in in Abuja for the #BringBackOurGirls movement, Mrs Ezekwesili has accused the administration of doing little or nothing to check widespread corruption and impunity, and has demanded transparency in the management of the country’s oil revenues.

Barely a week ago, the Federal Government accused the BringBackOurGirls group of allowing itself to be manipulated by opposition politicians to perpetuate the activities of the Boko Haram Sect.

In criticizing the activities of the group, Ms. Ogar, had accused its leaders of turning the protest into a franchise for collecting monies from unsuspecting members of the public.

“#BringBackOurGirls movement has become a franchise,” Ms. Oga said. “If it is an ordinary movement seeking to pile pressure on government or security agencies to release these girls, there will be no need for the group to begin to have tags, insisting that you must have a tag and be properly registered to be part of them. Security forces also know that they have bank accounts.”

She further accused the group of paying courtesy calls to money bags to solicit support.

The SSS spokesperson’s comment attracted a sharp reaction by Mrs. Ezekwesili who accused the Federal Government of mobilizing the police and thugs to assault members of the group.

“They (government) hired ghost writers supported by some editors to publish fictions about us and had the State Security Service (SSS) spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar, spew bile at us,” Mrs. Ezekwesili said.

“In all orchestrated effort to silence us through physical and reputational assault, they helped make our point -that our #ChibokGirls needs a voice. Ogar should hide her face in shame if she has any conscience as a woman. How can our own SSS allow itself to be so poorly served by Ogar with those pedestrian lies about #BringBackOurGirls?” she added.

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