Citizens Voice Against Corruption (CIVAC) a coalition of civil society organizations and civic actors fighting against corruption in Nigeria has called on Pointblank publishers to stop the slanderous and unethical reporting against the leadership of department of state service (DSS), it frowns at the deliberate misinformation by Pointblank Newspaper on happenings within DSS
It said the publication is aimed at discrediting the character and service of the Director-General of the DSS, Mr. Yusuf Bichi. The Pointblank reporter deliberately chose to launch his blackmail toward the DG by hiding behind the destruction of lives’ and public properties arising from the recent #ENDSARS protest that engulfed the nation some months ago.
According to a statement signed the Lead Convener of CIVAC, Abdulrazak Alkai the aim is politically motivated to discredit the selfless service of the DSS as an agency, create division within the ranks of its officers and politicise the efforts of the DSS boss in bringing the agency back to effectiveness and respect to rule of law.
He recalled that the appointment of Mr Bichi on the 14th of September 2018 was strategically made by the President Buhari with the intention to bring in an experienced and selfless Director capable of steering the DSS away from the rot and impunitive actions witnessed at that time. Mr Bichi came in with so much experience gained over decades of service with the DSS.
Alkali explains that during his career service, Mr Bichi underwent training in intelligence processing analysis, agent handling, as well as recruitment and processing in the United Kingdom. This is in addition to various other strategic training at the National Defence College. Mr Bichi worked as the State Director of DSS in various states including Jigawa, Abia, Niger and Sokoto states.
“He also served in the capacity of Director at the following units; National Assembly Liaison (National War College), Directorate of Security Enforcement, Directorate of Operations, Directorate of Intelligence and Directorate of Administration and Finance. We can all agree that Mr Bichi brought enormous experience and skills to the job,” he added.
He gave a background that the Department of State Service, was set-up in 1986 with the main responsibilities of delivering service in counter-intelligence, internal security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of crimes against the state.
Delivering on these responsibilities have been the main goals of Mr Bichi since he came into office. The various successes recorded by the service under his supervision is there for all to see, these include successes in areas of fight against bandits and their collaborators, kidnappers, gun runners and members and sympathiser terrorist organisations, as well as the handling of the activities of IPOB and #RevolutionNow movements whose aim is to destabilize and destroy Nigeria.
Other parts of the statement read:
This is evident from the increasing numbers national and international commendations directed at the DSS boss for the effectiveness and efficiency of the DSS under his leadership as well as its respect to citizens right and the Nigerian constitution.
Mr Bichi has vigorously drive improvement in welfare and wellbeing of personnel including: improved and frequent payment of allowances, more investment in infrastructure in commands and formations across the country, as well as providing officers and operatives with more training and re-training opportunities.
These are all geared towards creating a conducive working environment and increasing the efficiency of the workforce.
The DSS does not flaunt its operations and activities to the public, rather most operations and activities are classified, and this is the norm for State and Secrete Service departments all over the world. As such if the Pointblank reporter is not aware of the actions of DSS regarding operations pre and post the #ENDSARS menace that is because such information is not meant for the public.
The present DG, have instil selflessness and discipline within the DSS and that might be something that corrupt officers and their political sponsors are not happy with.
It is on record how previous administrations use the DSS officials as political tools to attack and blackmail opposition and in manipulating democratic processes, all of which is no longer happening under his leadership.
However, in such circumstances it is expected that corrupt official and their sponsors will fight back mainly by resorting to smeared media blackmail against the DG which we are presently witnessing.
When it comes to placement and redeployment of personnel of the DSS, it is up to the DG to deploy and re-assign personnel to departments and areas that best suits their capabilities. This is a common practice in all security agencies all over the world in order to increase efficiency and avoid putting round peg in a square hole.
Similarly, discipline is part of the service and officers who are found wanting will be disciplined in line with the code of conduct of the agency, of which suspension is one of them. As a result, personnel of the DSS whether high officers or low-ranking ones should know that they are serving their country (which they swore an oath to) and not are serving Mr Bichi and should therefore be disciplined and ready to serve at whatever capacity their country needs them.
Lastly, over the years we have seen how politicians and some media outlets use unfair criticism and blackmail against many security agencies in this country which have led to significant loss of confidence of security personnel of these agencies and this has affected their capacity to protect the lives and properties of Nigerians.
We call on Nigerian irrespective of political affiliation to avoid spreading misinformation that will damage the integrity and confidence of our security agencies and their personnel, only then will we have a disciplined and efficient security system.
Alkali warns that media institutions should also avoid publishing fake or half-baked information, just to get public attention or popularity, and should note that most activities of the DSS are not open to public and most of the information’s getting to them are completely fake or one sided to suit the narrative of the information giver.