By Jonathan Ugbal Follow @NaijaJonathan
Legal activist, Mr. Ferdinand Isa has dragged Nigerian Secret Police; the SSS to court over the February 2, 2017 invasion of a unity college in Calabar, the Cross River State capital claiming NGN500 million in damages.
Mr. Isa in a statement widely circulated on Friday lamented that the system wants people to forget human rights abuses and so often intimidate the citizenry which makes them keep quiet or pretend to forget.
“They beat up teachers, brutalized staff, shot sporadically; teachers were injured, monies lost, phones and other valuables destroyed. Why? A student, among 10 others, whose aunt works with the DSS was flogged by a teacher. She called her aunty who stormed the school with a handful of DSS operatives to attack the teachers in a most brazen manner.
“Maybe you have forgotten. Well, this is exactly what they want: they want us to forget. The teachers protested. Nothing happened. At a time they even threatened to sack them if they keep talking. So they kept quiet and forgot or pretend to forget,” said Mr. Isa who described actions he has taken prior to the decision to take the matter to court.
“I wrote to Ministry of Education. I wrote to the DSS demanding an apology and compensation to these teachers. The DSS didn’t reply my letter. The Ministry of Education replied me and said they were looking into it. Nothing more. I guess they have still not seen what they are looking for,” the statement read.
Isa who posited that: “Our glory as a nation lies in our memory of things like this,” pointed out that the reason why the country is moving backwards in almost every sector of its existence is because; “Ills are not healed and wrongs are not corrected.”
He continued: “But, if this country under God will ever progress, we should never forget festering ills, uncorrected wrongs and unattained justice. Any nation who forgets that security agents, paid by tax payers, stormed a school, shooting everywhere and beating up teachers is not a serious nation. No nation should forget this until justice is done.
“How can we even forget when every media establishment covered that story? Just google it. It is there, recorded indelibly in history. Our children will see it tomorrow and they will ask what we did when this happened. What are we going to tell them? So, today, on the anniversary of that barbaric incident, I head to court. I am, on behalf of the teachers/staff of FGGC, suing the DSS, that student and her parents for N500 million.
“I am suing for the enforcement of the teachers Fundamental Human Right to Dignity of Human Person. I choose this method so that I can bypass the legal requirement of locus standi; since the teachers have been threatened and intimidated into silence. “
However, he maintained that this was not a fight against anyone as; “We are simply demanding that things are done right. We are on the side of Nigeria, and we believe that any Nigerian, government official or DSS operative who believes in Nigeria is on our side.
“Today, as we take our prayers to the temple of justice, whether they are answered or not, we will be satisfied that at least we didn’t forget. We tried.”
CrossRiverWatch had on February 3, 2017 reported that men of the SSS in Calabar took a short trip from their office along the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan bypass to the Federal Government Girls College and beat up staff after a girl was allegedly flogged by a teacher for flogging a junior student.
The student who was disciplined by her teacher is said to have called in her aunt who is an operative.
The SSS had earlier claimed operatives invaded the school after getting a tip that hoodlums were attacking the school. But, they later recanted after video evidence emerged showing operatives in the premises of the school, beating up teachers, and firing shots.
Two days later, Mr. Isa had wrote an opinion article on the issue which was published by CrossRiverWatch on February 5, 2017.
The staff then embarked on a demonstration about five days later as reported by CrossRiverWatch on February 8, 2017.
The staff adorned in black attires were joined by members of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, FGGC Wing and the Nigeria Union of Teachers and marched to the Cross River State House of Assembly complex where the Clerk, Barrister Bassey Ekpenyong assured that the House was not ignorant on the issue but will do all it can within its powers to make sure justice is served on the issue.
Less than 48 hours after, five SSS operatives were detained as reported by CrossRiverWatch on February 9, 2017.
Nothing had been heard about that since then.