A Psychologist Call On The Nigeria DSSSSS To Stick To Its National Security Mission Nobly Stop Making Nigeria – Modern Ghana

Ahmad Lawal, Muhammadu Buhari and Femi GbajabiamilaAhmad Lawal, Muhammadu Buhari and Femi Gbajabiamila

27.12.2021 LISTEN

About this period last year, I read in the media an article written by Dr. Peter Afunanya, the DSS Public Relations Officer titled, the “Professional Side of Bichi.”

On ethical grounds, it was an extremely unusual article in that it was a civil servant writing about another public service official, nevertheless that is not the focus here.

To educate the public and the Nigerian law enforcement bodies, there ought to be a long-standing correction that the DSS or SSS is not by law a Secret Police.

As a Forensic/Legal/Clinical Psychologist and Police/Prison Scientist, secret police is a pejorative term which refers to a type of political police organization with authoritarian and totalitarian characteristics that engages in hidden operations against government’s political opponents and protesters.

As one who was born and raised in the police barracks, I still recall the words ‘special branch” as part of the Nigeria police force. It was then called the Nigerian Security Organization (NSO).

From time to time my father, a police officer would assist newly posted officers of the Nigerian Security Organization (NSO) to obtain accommodation in the barracks. As I recall many of them acted ethically and professionally but they were not visibly known in the barracks. They got my admiration as a secondary school student.

The National security organization is now known as the State Security Service (SSS) or Department of State Services (DSS).

As a federal law enforcement agency, it is supposed to serve as a domestic intelligence agency of Nigeria. The State Security Service (SSS) roles and functions generally revolve around preventing and investigating any crime against the internal security of Nigeria. DSS is supposed to be about preventing and detecting threats of destabilization, terrorism, espionage, major inter-group disputes, and threats that undermines internal national security; and ensure the safety of the president, the vice president, and their respective families.

DSS exist to protect high-profile government officials, sensitive government offices, conduct sound and thorough security clearance of potential high official candidates. It is involved in protecting visiting foreign heads of state, former presidents and their wives, and events of national consequence as well as investigating and preventing financial crimes relating to the nation.

In terms of designation, I hope in the future its name is changed to what I call the Nigeria Secret Service, a more appropriate name that fits the above federalized functions.

I would think that among some of its men and women there are those who practice these functions professionally.

As one who is in and out of Africa for professional and academic works, the SSS has been known to successfully performed well in matters as it relates to internal security responsibility.

We recall how SSS in 2001, successfully detected the six fanatical Pakistani proselyters illegally entered Nigeria after been invited by the Lagos-based Tabliq, a radical Muslim NGO. They were arrested and afterward deported.

We all remember in 2010, how the SSS successfully intercepted a large cache of arms and ammunition coming from Iran at the Apapa port in Lagos; we all remember how SSS officials successfully infiltrated several religious fanatical groups in the country including the Boko Haram sect.

In 2011, the SSS rescued a kidnapped Parish Priest, Rev. Fr Sylvester Chukwura, of the St Bernard’s Catholic Church in Orhionmwon local government area of Edo state, from his abductor’s hideout after the kidnappers were enticed with the ransom sum.

We all remember how in 2016, one bad guy, Izuagie Mohammed got arrested by SSS in Benin City, Edo State for mimicking to be the Accountant General of the Federation. He was known for defrauding unsuspecting members of the public posing as the Nigerian AGF in the social media and promising people facilitation of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) empowerment loan. I believe their other secret achievements. The SSS stopped him successfully.

There is the successful put down by the SSS when in 2018 at Karu Village, Abuja, members of the feared BASALUBE kidnap group, known for kidnap activities and killing activities. Certainly, there are other unacknowledged successes.

In recent times, every day one wakes up around the world we hear allegations of some of its present-day employees behaving like Nigerian mafia, notorious boys/girls, gangsters, mobsters, native doctors, juju operatives, and errand boys/girls for “ogas and madams” (the so-called persons of status).

On professional and investigative grounds, let us look at some recent matters that are making some DSS officials look like awful moral, comical psychic, and nasty legal actors. Incredible.

Recently there is in the media a story titled, “DSS detained me for six months, taunted me to transform to cat like Igboho –Ekiti traditionalist, Ifasooto”. So, I ask how is this part of law enforcement to the nation? Dada Ifasooto, who illegally spent six months in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja stated that “I asked them to show me their search and arrest warrants, but they could not provide any…A DSS official interrogated me when I arrived in Abuja. He asked whether any herbalist followed those who came 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 cats, were the ones who also came for me… He mockingly told me to disappear then that I had been handcuffed and I told him I don’t know what he was talking about… They accused me of preparing charms for Chief Sunday Igboho, which is not true. I did not prepare any charm for him. I have not met him before. They also asked me whether I had been to Imo State, and I said I had not been to Imo or anywhere in the South-East. The officers then accused me of making charms for IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) but I told them that was not true as I had never been in contact with them…”.

Whether one likes Sanusi Lamido Sanusi or not, here is a lethal matter involving DSS where they acted abnormally as reported in the media: “How I was manhandled by Police, DSS, others – Sanusi”. With this type of heading, how is this a way to enforce laws?

In a March 12, 2020, Sanusi filed a lawsuit: “The former emir was whisked to Nasarawa state by security operatives after his dethronement on Monday by Kano state government…the former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria who insisted that he wasn’t given a fair hearing before being dethroned…said that he was harassed and forced out of the palace without being allowed to pick up his personal belongings… The applicant was separated from his family who were also carried out of the palace “Upon arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, he was conveyed first to Lafia, then to Loko town of Nasarawa State, after being driven for about seven hours in the dead of the night…”

As part of the court’s response to the abuse by the SSS and other agencies, the media reported that the “The judge subsequently voided the arrest, harassment, and banishment of Sanusi to Abuja and later to Nasarawa State and set it aside on ground of being an infringement of his fundamental human rights… A sum of N10million was awarded to the former Emir as damages to be paid to him by the respondents…The court also issued an order directing the respondents to tender a public apology to Sanusi to be published in two major national dailies for the embarrassment caused him by breaching his fundamental human rights.…”

So, I ask, is this strange tactic part of SSS officials sworn federal law enforcement duties?

Now, whether the SSS pay their part of the court ordered compensatory damages, as it is not unusual for officials to refuse court orders, the psychological cost to SSS in terms of continued bad name is what pains me and other criminal justice professionals.

Nigeria is still a democracy, and there is need for ethical leadership in our law enforcement agencies marked by ethical accountability and legal responsiveness.

Like other types of employment in Nigeria, where some jobs are gotten through bribery, favoritism, nepotism and influence, my hope is that in the future law enforcement candidate’s suitability will be consequences from long hours and days of psychological screening by competent psychologists using modern assessment tools. Followed by multi-faceted hiring process that include a thorough background investigation, a credit check, a polygraph exam, physical abilities examination, and medical appraisal.

Future presidencies especially, must make sure that DSS and other law enforcement agencies are educated and monitored for them to learn to stay away from acts of civil repression and systematic human rights violations.

Psychologically, I am forced to think that the various acts of institutional foolishness across Nigeria could be due to the reality that the guiding Constitution is defective, as it was imposed by the armed forces, therefore lacks legitimacy.

It is important that now and, in the future, the presidency and National Assembly work together to respond to many of these shameful and laughable problems and do the right thing.

As I was almost ending this writing, I saw this in the media: “Insecurity worsens as over 100 people are killed across Nigeria last week”, by Premium Times. So, I ask the DSS, what do you have to lose by spending more energy and professionally tackling these ugly national discomforts? The DSS as a body of law enforcement professionals must renew their individual oath and act right.

John Egbeazien Oshodi who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government Consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional and Career Development. A former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at the Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African settings. In 2011, he introduced the State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and the Nasarawa State University where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. The Development Professor and International Liaison Consultant at the African University of Benin, and a Virtual Faculty at the ISCOM University, Benin of Republic. Founder of the Proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, Openness. Author of over 40 academic publications/creations, at least 200 public opinion writeups on African issues, and various books. He specializes in psycho-prescriptive writings regarding African institutional and governance issues.

John Egbeazien Oshodi wrote in via [email protected]


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