Henceforth, operations of the Department of State Services (DSS) will demonstrate respect for the tenets of democracy and the rule of law, the organisation’s new Director-General, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, has said.
Speaking with reporters at the DSS headquarters in Abuja yesterday, Seiyefa said his legal background and 34 years’ experience in service convinced him of the need to review various aspects of DSS operations with a view to focusing solely on national interests.
Speaking in guided but emphatic tones, the new helmsman vowed to vigorously pursue changes, including a review of detainees and past abuses on human rights, an entrenchment of politically unbiased operations, smooth inter-agency partnership with all other government agencies and the appointment of a media spokesman instead of a pseudo character that signs DSS statements.
Seiyefa signalled that the era of DSS disregard for the National Assembly and disobedience of court-orders may be over and that there may be hope for people, such as detained former National Security Adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).
“At the moment, we are reviewing all issues that have to do with unhelpful perception of the service in recent times. We are reviewing all cases of detentions, perceived human right abuses, public misperceptions and some of our recent actions in order to learn lessons where we had undertaken actions that have made us to be perceived wrongly,” he stated.
Emphasising that the DSS is a resilient organisation with an amazing workforce and core values that can overcome past negative perceptions, Seiyefa noted that past leaders of the organisation tended to adopt approaches that were reflective of their personalities.
Seiyefa, the 11th director-general since the DSS’ formation on June 5, 1986, also solicited the cooperation of the media.
“The importance of the mass media in nation building, including national security management, cannot be over-emphasised; the media sets agenda and manages perceptions, so it is important that stakeholder in security management should interact with you from time to time.
“Our core objective is promoting the national interest in all situations. We have diverse interests in contention at every point in time, especially under a democratic dispensation. In an election year, contending interests assume greater manifestations but we must be focused on the national interest.
“We will redouble efforts on intelligence gathering and intelligence analysis to guide policy formulation and security management.
“We will strongly partner with all other agencies in the management of security and we will do our utmost in collaboration with all stakeholders towards protecting all law-abiding citizens and Nigeria’s critical national assets.
“We will not tolerate the abuse of freedom of people; we will respect the freedom of all Nigerians, but we will also not be intimidated, no matter what, even when it seems that some people may be out to demonise the service.
“Within the tenets of the law, we will protect our mandate for which is to promote and protect the national interest; the peace and security of Nigeria comes first.
“We will ply our trade within the tenets of democracy and rule of law and in consonance with global best practices; we are cognisant of the fact that anything done is subject to scrutiny and we have responsibility to protect everybody,” Seiyefa stated.
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