After the alleged tapping of Governors Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State telephone conversation, by security agencies, some lawyers have responded, condemning the action.
It would be recalled that the audio recordings of a phone conversation allegedly made by the two governors was recently released by an online news site. Speaking on the development, a vice chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barrister Monday Ubani condemned the act, describing it as an infringement of their privacy.
“The 1999 constitution as amended, gives every Nigerian citizen some fundamental rights, which includes the right to privacy,” he said.
Ubani however pointed out that the same constitution which gives citizens the right to privacy can also be changed for the sake of national security.
“Security agencies have the absolute right to invade the privacy of citizens when that conversation borders on the issue of national security.
“ I believe that there is nothing wrong in taping their conversations so long national security risk is involved. Security agencies can’t know about a purported conversation which might be a major risk to national security and decide to keep quiet. I believe that they are doing this for the overall interest of the state. I strongly believe that national security and interest supercedes anybody’s privacy,” Ubani stated.
Ubani also added that this can only happen when the security operatives had marked such persons as security risks, otherwise it would be wrong to listen in on their conversation.
Also commenting on the issue, human rights lawyer and activist, Ebun Olu Adegboruwa, frowned at the development describing it as a move by the presidency to subject citizens to harsh and unjust practices.
“I am quite surprised at the Gestapo like movement by the security operatives. We live in an era where judges’ homes are raided at midnight and private phone conversations are made public. It has become an era of civilian dictatorship by the government against the citizens,” he said.
“ The right to privacy is enshrined under the constitution. I have not listened to the conversation but if what the DSS did is true, then I find it highly unprofessional, that such a conversation would be leaked to social media. This singular act is contrary to our constitution.
“The DSS should understand that these Governors cannot be prosecuted while they are still in office. If they have any meaningful investigation to do, then they should wait until they leave office before they start prosecuting them.
“ This singular act just goes on to show that the DSS is just out to scandalize the reputation and images of these people. You don’t just go out and about doing things anyhow. We live in an era where anybody who is perceived to be an enemy of the state is targeted unduly, “Adegboruwa said.