DSS should stick to national security mission
About this period last year, I read an article written by the Public Relations Officer of the State Service Department, Peter Afunanya, titled “Professional Side of Bichi”.
For ethical reasons, this was an extremely unusual article as it dealt with an official writing about another civil servant. However, that is not the point here.
To educate the public and Nigerian law enforcement in particular, there should be a long-standing correction that the DSS is not by law a secret police.
As a forensic psychologist and police / prison specialist, secret police is a derogatory term that refers to a type of political police organization with authoritarian and totalitarian characteristics that engages in covert operations against opponents politicians and government protesters.
As a person born and raised in the police barracks, I still remember the words “special branch” as a member of the Nigerian police force. It was then called the Nigerian Security Organization.
From time to time, my father, a policeman, helped the new ONS officers to stay in the barracks. If I remember correctly, many of them acted in an ethical and professional manner, but they were obviously not known in the barracks. They got my admiration as a high school student.
The national security organization is now known as the State Security Service or the Department of State Services.
As a federal law enforcement agency, it is supposed to serve as Nigeria’s national intelligence agency. The roles and functions of the agency generally revolve around the prevention and investigation of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria. This involves preventing and detecting threats of destabilization, terrorism, espionage, major intergroup conflicts and threats affecting internal national security; and ensure the safety of the President, Vice-President and their respective families.
In fact, the DSS exists to protect senior government officials, sensitive government offices, perform strong and in-depth security clearance of potential high-level candidates. She is involved in the protection of visiting foreign heads of state, former presidents and their wives, and events of national significance, as well as the investigation and prevention of financial crimes related to the nation.
In terms of designation, I hope that in the future his name will be changed to what I call the Nigerian Secret Service, a more appropriate name that matches the federalized functions above.
I think that among some of its men and women there are those who perform these functions professionally.
As a person who is in Africa and outside Africa for professional and academic work, the DSS is known for its good results in matters related to the responsibility of homeland security.
We remember how the DSS, in 2001, managed to detect the six fanatic Pakistani proselytes who entered Nigeria illegally after being invited by Tabliq, a radical Muslim NGO based in Lagos. They were arrested and then deported.
We all remember in 2010 how the agency managed to intercept a large cache of weapons and ammunition from Iran in the port of Apapa in Lagos; we all remember how its leaders managed to infiltrate several fanatic religious groups in the country, most notably the Boko Haram sect.
In 2011, the agency rescued a kidnapped parish priest, Reverend Father Sylvester Chukwura, of St Bernard Catholic Church in the Orhionmwon local government area in Edo State, from the hiding place of his captors after the kidnappers were attracted by the sum of the ransom.
We all remember in 2016 a villain, Izuagie Mohammed, was arrested by the DSS in Benin City, Edo State, for posing as the Federation’s Accountant General. He was known to defraud unsuspecting members of the public posing as AGF on social media and promising people the facilitation of the Central Bank of Nigeria empowerment loan. I believe there are other secret achievements.
There is the success suppressed by the DSS when in 2018 in Karu village, Abuja, members of the feared kidnapping group BASALUBE, known for its kidnapping and murder activities. Of course, there are other little-known successes.
Unfortunately, lately we have been waking up every day to hear allegations that some agents of the agency behave like the Nigerian Mafia, notorious boys / girls, gangsters, thugs, indigenous doctors, police officers. juju and boys / girls shopping for “oga and madam”, (the so-called status people).
For professional and investigative reasons, let’s take a look at a few recent cases that pass off some DSS officials as ugly moral, comical psychic, and legal wicked actors. Incredible.
Recently there was a media report titled “DSS detained me for six months, provoked me to turn into a cat like Igboho – traditionalist Ekiti, Ifasooto”. So, I ask how does this part of law enforcement affect the nation? According to the report, Dada Ifasooto, who spent six months illegally in DSS custody in Abuja, said: “I asked them to show me their search and arrest warrants, but they could not provide any. … A DSS official questioned me. when I arrived in Abuja. He asked me if an herbalist was following those who had come for my arrest, and I told him I don’t know… The official then informed me that the same people who arrested my boss, Chief Sunday Igboho, who turned to the cats, were the ones who also came for me… He mockingly told me to disappear now that I was handcuffed. I told him I don’t know what he was talking about… They accused me of preparing spells for Chief Sunday Igboho, which is not true. I didn’t prepare any charm for him. I have never met him before. They also asked me if I had been to Imo State, and I replied that I had not been to Imo or elsewhere in the southeast. The officers then accused me of making charms for the IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) but I told them that was not true because I had never been in contact with them … ”
Whether you like Lamido Sanusi or not, here is a fatal case involving the DSS where they acted abnormally as reported in the media: “How I was manhandled by the police, the DSS, others – Sanusi” . With this type of column, how is it a means of enforcing the laws?
In a March 12, 2020 report, Sanusi filed a complaint: “The former emir was taken to Nasarawa state by security agents after his dethronement on Monday by the Kano state government … governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria who insisted he was not He was heard fairly before being dethroned … said he was harassed and kicked out of the palace without being allowed to collect his belongings personal… The applicant was separated from his family who were also taken out of the palace.
Upon arrival at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Sanusi was reportedly driven first to Lafia and then to Loko town in Nasarawa state, after being driven for about seven hours in the middle of the night. .
As part of the court’s response to abuses by the DSS and other agencies, media reported that “the judge subsequently overturned the arrest, harassment and banishment of Sanusi in Abuja and later in the state of Nasarawa and quashed it on the grounds of being a violation of his basic human rights… A sum of 10 million naira was awarded to the former emir as damages to be paid to him by the defendants… The court also issued an order directing the defendants to issue a public apology to Sanusi to publish in two major national dailies for the embarrassment caused to him by the violation of his basic human rights.… ”
So, I ask, is this weird tactic among the DSS officials who have sworn federal law enforcement duties?
Now, for the DSS to pay its share of the court-ordered compensatory damages, as it is not uncommon for officials to turn down court orders, the psychological cost to the agency in terms of continued bad reputation is what hurts me and other criminal justice professionals.
Nigeria is still a democracy, and there is a need for ethical leadership in our law enforcement agencies marked by ethical responsibility and legal responsiveness.
Like other types of employment in Nigeria, where some jobs are obtained through corruption, favoritism, nepotism and influence, I hope that in the future the suitability of candidates for the forces of the order will be the result of long hours and days of psychological screening by skilled psychologists using modern assessment tools. Followed by a multi-faceted hiring process that includes a thorough background investigation, credit check, polygraph exam, physical capacity exam, and medical assessment.
Future presidents, in particular, must ensure that the DSS and other law enforcement agencies are educated and monitored so that they learn to stay clear of acts of civil repression and systematic violations. human rights.
Psychologically, I am forced to think that the various acts of institutional madness across Nigeria could be due to the fact that the governing constitution is flawed, as it was imposed by the armed forces and therefore lacks legitimacy.
It is important that now and in the future, the Presidency and the National Assembly work together to address many of these shameful and laughable problems and do the right thing.
As I almost finished this writing, I saw this in the media: “Insecurity Worsens as Over 100 People Are Killed Across Nigeria Last Week”, per Premium Times. So, I ask the DSS, what do you have to lose by spending more energy and professionally tackling these awful national ailments? The DSS, as a body of law enforcement professionals, must renew its individual oath and act properly.
Professor Oshodi, a United States-based forensic psychologist, wrote via [email protected]
All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without the express prior written permission of PUNCH.
Contact: [email protected]