The Department of State Services (DSS) has written to Segun Adeniyi, a Nigerian journalist and current chair of the editorial board of ThisDay newspapers to immediately retract a statement made in one of his publications.
The letter, written by the DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya sought the correction to a statement Adeniyi made in one of his opinion articles.
The paragraph under contention read thus, “Hundreds of innocent citizens are currently languishing in Police and State Security Services detention centres across the country, following arrests ordered by powerful men and women.”
Peter said this was not true as he claimed that no Nigerian was arrested by DSS operatives on the order of private citizens.
He also stated that the DSS should not be run down by the media at the slightest opportunity, describing the agency as one which carries out its duties following the rule of law.
“Dear Mr Olusegun Adeniyi, without efforts to join issues with you on an opinion expressed by you in your article of 5th August 2021 on the above subject matter, the SSS takes exceptions to the part that states that ‘Hundreds of innocent citizens are currently languishing in Police and State Security Services (SSS) detention centres across the country, following arrests ordered by powerful men and women’.
“This is not true. I do not speak for the Police but it is certain that no Nigerian or anyone for that matter is in the SSS/DSS custody on the order(s) of private citizens or persons. The SSS has an SOP on the criminal justice administration.
“The media owes a duty, propelled by good conscience and the common good, to guide public narratives about some government agencies and their sacrifices to uphold security, peace and unity of this nation, Nigeria.
“The SSS should not be run down given the slightest opportunity. You had been at the commanding heights of governance and national security administration and management to understand issues so as not to misinform the public.
“It is unacceptable for a respectable columnist of your experience and status to make a sweeping statement like the one herein. It is misleading, inciting, denigrating, demeaning, misinforming and should be withdrawn. The SSS and indeed security agencies, if not praised, should be supported. The Organisation may not be perfect but it is doing so much for the Country.
”It respects and loves the citizens and residents and strives to serve them based on best practices, rule of law/engagement and a balance between rights and national security.
“Thank you Sir as you correct this erroneous impression created about the Service. I remain your partner in progress and service to fatherland.”
This is despite several atrocities committed by the officials of the lawless DSS against journalists, human rights activists and other citizens.
For instance, DSS operatives detained 26 members of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, ABCON, Northwest chapter, who were invited from Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Minna and Lagos for questioning in Abuja over alleged ties with financiers of terrorism in Nigeria.
The DSS for several weeks refused to arraign the suspects before a court.
On October 8, 2016, Governor Nyesom Wike foiled the attempted ‘kidnap’ of Mohammed Liman, a judge by DSS operatives.
DSS operatives had stormed 35, Forces Avenue, Port Harcourt, the residence of Liman.
The DSS had raided the houses of judges across the country while searching for “evidence linking the judges to corruption”.
Some judges were later prosecuted by the secret police but Wike ensured that Liman was not arrested on the night that security operatives laid siege to his residence.
Wike had accused the security agencies of not following due process in the discharge of their duties.
On August 3, two days before a planned nationwide protest, the DSS arrested human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, and detained him for 144 days.
Sowore was illegally arrested around 1:30am in Lagos State for creating and championing ‘#RevolutionNow’, a hash tag used to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration on the social media over poor governance.
He was moved to the agency’s headquarters in Abuja where he was illegally detained for 144 days.
In a twist of event, after a court had ordered his release, lawless DSS operatives invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja on December 6, 2019, to rearrest him without any court order.
He remained in unlawful detention until 18 days later when he was released by the secret police for the second time.
On July 4, the DSS on the order of the Dunamis International Gospel Centre arrested five activists for wearing #BuhariMustGo T-shirts to the church.
The activists spent one month at the detention centre of the DSS as the secret police continued to violate court orders on their release.
They were finally released on Wednesday, August 4 after a series of violations of their rights by the DSS.
The DSS which dragged them before a Magistrates’ Court in Mpape, also refused to allow them to perfect their bail conditions before hurrying them back into detention.
The activists namely Ben Mannaseh; Emmanuel Larry; Victor Udoka Anene; a blind saxophonist, Samuel Gabriel Iwatonaiye and Henry Nwodohave spent over 30 days in illegal detention.
In 2017, Femi Falana (SAN), a human rights lawyer, accused the DSS of “embarrassing” the current administration through “illegal” arrest and detention innocent of citizens.
He wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that the secret police were using its operations to settle personal scores.
Falana said contrary to Buhari’s promise to ensure “responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country” when he assumed office, the security agency has engaged in the “indiscriminate arrest and detention of many citizens and foreigners living in Nigeria”.
He said the “failure” of Buhari’s government to caution the DSS leadership has created the impression that the current administration does not have respect for the fundamental rights of the Nigerian people.
Also, the DSS reportedly continuously violated the rights of 12 associates of Yoruba nation activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho.
SaharaReporters gathered that the aides, who were detained for 34 days slept on the bare floor amid a series of inhumane treatments meted out to them.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported how DSS operatives dehumanised the woman among the arrested aides of Igboho, refusing to allow her to change her underwear.
The operatives had refused to allow the woman, Amoda Babatunde, also known as Lady K, have access to new clothes.
The operatives rather insisted that she wash the clothes on her, dry and wear them.
Sources at the DSS detention camp added that the operatives watched as Lady K was “forced to strip herself; wash her clothes and dry them outside while she waits while being naked till they dry.”
The DSS on July 1 raided Igboho’s residence in Ibadan, Oyo State, killing two of his associates and arresting 12 others.
Those arrested at Igboho’s residence alongside Amoda were Abdulateef Ofeyagbe, Tajudeen Erinoyen, Diakola Ademola, Abideen Shittu, Jamiu Noah, Ayobami Donald, Adelabe Usman, Oluwapelumi Kunle, Raji Kazeem, Taiwo Opeyemi, and Bamidele Sunday.