Is The DSS Abusing Its Powers?

September 2, 2020

Citizen is a column that explains how the government’s policies fucks citizens and how we can unfuck ourselves.

So, its fair to say that it is becoming standard procedure to be invited by the Department of State Services (DSS) if one makes any comment that is deemed to be targeted at the Government, or that is considered ‘hate speech’ or inciteful or any other related kind of public statement.

But, in short, we still do not know the exact reason why the DSS invites people over comments. But let’s find out.

Origin of the SSS (or DSS)

The State Security Service (SSS) was created in June 1986 by Decree 19 of the Ibrahim Babangida Military administration. This decree dissolved the National Security Organization into three different splinter security organizations under the office of the Co-ordinator of National Security.

These security organizations were: The State Security Service, The National Intelligence Agency and the Defence Intelligence Agency.

Ironically, the SSS is now commonly known by many Nigerians as the DSS (Department of State Security) – a name that is still controversial and many say is not in line with the law.

Mandate of the SSS

The major mandate of the SSS is in Subsection (3) of the National Security Organizations Act which charges it with the responsibility for:

a) the prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;

b) the protection and preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria; and

(c) such other responsibilities affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.

Is The DSS Abusing Its Powers?

Within the past few weeks, we have seen repeated invites from the ‘DSS’ to people who were deemed to have made hate speeches and/or inciteful comments.

Obadiah Mailafia, a former CBN deputy Governor and Presidential candidate was invited by the department over claims he made on a radio interview that he had intelligence that a sitting governor is a commander of terrorist group – Boko Haram.

Just recently, news also surfaced online that celebrities Don Jazzy and Tiwa Savage were allegedly invited by the outfit over comments and claims made about the President Buhari administration. The report further claims that these celebrities were warned to be careful with their social media posts and that a certain #WeAreTired hashtag has been discontinued by Tiwa Savage.

But, given that the DSS has recorded huge wins in the past, including the October 2010 interception of a large shipment of ammunitions from Iran through the Apapa port, one cannot argue that the security outfit can not be effective when it wants to be.

We just hope that intelligence and counter-intelligence activities are properly balanced with human right considerations, and the freedom of all Nigerians to many rights, including speech, and subject to all relevant laws of the land, including the constitution.

Check back every weekday by 10am for more Zikoko Citizen articles.

Doyin Olagunju

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