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Nigerians And The Department of State Services (DSS)

The decriable actions perpetrated by the Department of State Services (DSS) came to a head on Friday when they stormed the premises of a Federal High Court in Abuja to re-arrest the embattled publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore.

The DSS had been ordered by the court to release Sowore within 24 hours on Thursday or face more dire sanctions. The security agency complied only to find another backdoor to effect Sowore’s re-arrest. The reality now is Sowore may never see the light of day as a free man if the status quo remains. 

Read more about Omoyele Sowore

But a brief look into the activities of the DSS shows that the agency does not exist under the provisions of any law by the National Assembly. All government departments, agencies, and parastatals have laws sanctioning their existence but the DSS. The closest evidence to the existence of the DSS is the Act which created the State Security Services (SSS) in 1986. 

General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida by decree had gone on to unbundle the old National Security Organisation (NSO) into three distinct bodies – State Security Service (SSS), Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) – to make security and intelligence administration more effective. 

National Security Agencies (NSA) Act was enacted by Decree 19 on June 5, 1986, and it gave the SSS unlimited powers which are not subject to court orders but only to the president’s instruction.                                                                                                  

This simple but tricky clause in the NSA Act making the SSS only subject to the president’s order might have been elemental to vice president Yemi Osinbajo’s so-called fall from favour with the President when he sacked the director of the DSS, Daura, after the latter refused to carry out an order which he gave in acting capacity as president. 

Now, the SSS changing its name without the approval or the fiat of the National Assembly amending the NSA Act could have emboldened it more to commit, what some could consider, illegalities with sheer impunity. The organization, DSS carries out the instructions of the President. All those whose activities they perceive to threaten the state interest are held up or taken down permanently by the agency. Even if the continued incarceration of Sheikh El-Zakzaky, Sambo Dasuki, and others remain more complex, the case of Dadiyata, a known critic of the government, who reportedly was taken from his home in the full glare of his wife by the DSS questions more the activities of the agency.

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Though the desire of Nigerian to seek political Messiahs have been discovered to be dead on arrival, the only body collective which can rescue Nigerians from some worrisome activities of security outfit – the DSS – is the National Assembly. They have the powers to amend the NSA Act to fit modern and proper guidelines fit for a modern society which we all aspire to become.


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Macaddy is mostly a farmer in the day who also dabbles into technology at night, in search of other cutting edge intersections. He's on Twitter @i_fix_you

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