A call has gone to President Muhammadu Buhari, and the National Assembly to either rejig the legislative frameworks setting up the Department of States Services (DSS) to make it more responsive to the growing trends of crimes and criminality or compel the service to focus on eradicating threats to the stability and security of Nigeria.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, said the secret police must depart from its fixation with arresting and detaining civil society activists; media activists or political opponents of President Muhammadu Buhari and focus on terrorism; kidnappings and armed attacks of communities by armed freelance hoodlums.
HURIWA made the call against the backdrop of recent kidnappings and killings of Nigerians including operatives of the Nigeria Police and the DSS by dare devil armed groups and terrorists especially in the North West of Nigeria.
HURIWA said it does not make any sense that the DSS funded by the taxpayers in a constitutional democracy is being used by the President to scuttle the enjoyment and exercise of the constitutional freedom of Nigerians.
“The increasing challenges of the breakdown of law and order across the country demands immediate, comprehensive, radical reforms of all segments of the armed security services with special attention to the DSS which is increasingly losing focus and is gaining the notoriety as the anti-democratic armed security agency whose mandate is to cripple the expansion of enjoyments of fundamental freedom by missions.”
HURIWA said a look into the establishment Act setting up the DSS has shown that the agency ought not to create the public notoriety as the agents of anti-democratic forces but is established to eradicate such heinous crimes that threaten the security and stability of Nigeria.
The rights group said the activities of terrorists, armed bandits, armed Fulani herdsmen and other armed freelance hoodlums constitute a grave threat to the survival of Nigeria because of the obvious fact that millions of Nigerians are now living in fear and apprehension.
HURIWA said the ways and manners that the Department of State Services operate is not in tandem with the essence and import of the Establishment Act that set it up.
The Rights group said the recent activities of the DSS in which many perceived opponents of the ruling APC produced President have been arrested and arbitrarily detained are some of the diversionary illegalities that are weakening the operational fabric and focus of the DSS to such a negative dimension that even the operatives are becoming endangered species with cases of kidnappings and killings of trained operatives of DSS by armed kidnappers.
“We as committed patriots are hereby calling on President Buhari and the legislative chamber of the National Assembly to reorganize the DSS and give them more central law enforcement mandates to compliment the Nigerian police to jointly operate like the way the police and the FBI are working in the United States of America to stamp out and confront armed and violent criminals.”
“This urgent task of reforming the DSS should be embraced as a national rescue mission because it is indeed embarrassing that officers of DSS, Federal Road Safety Commission and the Civil Defence have all fallen victims of the activities of kidnappers.
“We suggests that rather than the DSS divert her statutory function to only that of crushing civil rights activists and perceived political opponents of the presidents in office, the DSS should be refocused to work in a similar form like the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigations,(FBI) so it can jointly work with the police to crack down on the widening wave of armed kidnappings and to go after armed bandits and armed Fulani herdsmen so as to restore national Security and national Stability.”
HURIWA recalled that a 33-year-old operative of the DSS, Sadiq Bindawa, was reportedly murdered by suspected kidnappers in Katsina State just as the kidnappers reportedly collected N5 million ransom from his friends and relatives before killing him.