Senate reports on DSS watchlisting Ofehe


On Tuesday, the Senate postponed debating the committee's findings on ethics, privileges, and public petitions.

Additionally, it encouraged the National Security Advisor, Major General Babagana Monguno (Retd), to retract the request he made to the Department of State Services, DSS, to place Mr. Sunny Oghale Ofehe, a Dutch environmental and human rights activist who was born in Nigeria, on a watch list.

To continue monitoring crime in the country, the red chamber, however, decided that the nation's secret police might add any person to its watchlist.

But the report was suspended after many senators noted that one method used by security authorities to monitor criminal suspects is the creation of watch lists for individuals.

According to the MPs, ordering the DSS to remove the petitioner on the watchlist would be interfering.

Sen. Ayo Akinyelure (PDP Ondo Central), the committee's chairman, stated during the presentation of the report that the DSS confirmed that it added Ofehe to the watch list on June 3, 2009, in response to a request from the NSA's office via letter with reference number NSA/INT/366/S, dated May 28, 2009.

"In the latter, the petitioner was accused of being a self-described activist and President/Founder of the Hope For the Niger Delta Campaign, HNDC, who went to the Netherlands and requested political asylum on the basis of a false allegation that the Federal Government of Nigeria assassinated his mother during the Niger Delta crisis.

He was also charged with using his organization to defraud the Dutch government and other environmental groups while claiming to be promoting the peace process in the Niger Delta.

In April of this year, the committee exonerated the founder of the HNDC and ordered the DSS and Nigerian Intelligence Agency, NIA, to remove Ofehe's name from their watchlists.

Ofehe was added to the DSS and NIA watch lists in 2009 as a result of his persistent criticism of the multinational Shell corporations. Ofehe's efforts center on environmental damage in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

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