By Gidado Ibrahim
In the last decade, the global security system has been under intense pressure due to myriads of factors. The MSS, which functions as China’s intelligence, security and secret police agency, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States, the British M16 and Russian KGB, among others have had to redouble their efforts in containing and sustaining peace and social order.
Security is a global concern today; hence, no single country can be a point of reference when it comes to insecurity. This global phenomenon has contributed to tensed security situation in Nigeria. The foregoing implies that the security concerns in Nigeria today is not entirely caused by internal factors but largely external like the influx of foreign armed men.
The Nigeria’s Secret Police, Department of State Services (DSS), which has the responsibility for counter-intelligence, internal security, counter-terrorism and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of serious crimes against the state, has been on top of her game.
It is these concerted intelligence efforts that culminated in the recent alarm of alleged plot by some criminal elements to bomb worship and recreational centres as well as return the country to the pre-2015 general election during and after Eid-el-Fitr. Despite its unflinching efforts at uncovering and nipping potential attacks in the bud, some Nigerians don’t seem to see anything good in President Buhari’s efforts to keep Nigeria safe.
The Service, without mincing words, has paid its dues. The unity of Nigeria has rested on its shoulders, thus enemies of progress should not join moles and internal detractors to distract it. Since his assumption of office, the present Director General (DG), Yusuf Magaji Bichi, enjoys impeccable support and cooperation of his management team and indeed all staff. This assertion is reflected in the efficient and optimal discharge of the Service’s mandate to protecting and preserving the internal security of the country.
The Nigeria’s secret police is the unsung hero of many successful operations. The service, till date, prides itself in its biggest achievement, which is ensuring the indivisibility and indissolubility of the country by promptly addressing the various challenges to Nigeria’s internal security. This constitutional provision has been upheld, including being charged with the task of conducting counter measures against security threats, which is at the forefront of all its engagements.
Suffice it to say that if not for the pivotal role of the Service under the leadership of the present DG, Bichi, in synergy with other agencies, the consequences of the plan by clandestine elements to cause mayhem during the coming festivities would have been disastrous.
There are also numerous covet but successful operations in aid of national security and anti-corruption drive. It would not be surprising that many people may be unaware that the operatives are very active in the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North East, North West and other parts of this country, as well as providing actionable intelligence for the anti-graft agencies.
Accordingly, experts and analysts alike have described the DSS and its operatives as unsung heroes who, despite sustained attacks on its image, have remained true and committed to duties of curtailing threats to internal security of Nigeria.
The DSS has effectively conducted counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations across the country. It has also achieved similar feats in the areas of reducing economic crimes, internet and advance fee frauds, kidnapping, banditry, arms trafficking and militancy, amongst others. It has sustained intelligence gathering efforts and aggressively participated in enforcement/joint operations with sister agencies. Some of its other widely reported achievements include but not limited to intercepting terrorist elements that try to gain illegal entry into the country as well as disrupting terrorist cells; intercepting a large cache of arms and ammunition in parts of the country, and investigating and prosecuting high profile security breaches across the country.
Other responsibilities dutifully performed by the secret police include continued protection of democratic institutions thus strengthening the democratic culture in Nigeria, providing policy support to all levels of government through timely dissemination of intelligence, providing timely security education for the public through effective information and communication management. This has served to boost the public confidence in the Service and reversed previously held notions that it is unfriendly.
Other strategies employed by the agency are training and capacity building for staff, acquisition of new tools and technological capacity to meet today’s challenges, partnership with strategic groups, strategic communication and robust fight against terrorism and insurgency.
It is however important to note that the DSS has been able to achieve this through collaborations with sister agencies, providing actionable and timely intelligence to the sister agencies and to government officials for informed policy as well as improved staff welfare, timely payment of allowances, providing medical support and accommodation.
Bichi has, since assumption of office, received commendations by both critics and supporters of the government, state officials and his peers in the security sector as well as staff of the agency for his team spirit as well as professionalism devoid of political activism or gratification. The DSS boss has achieved strategically not only in combating insecurity, but also within the service.
A close examination of the successes recorded by the security agencies such as the DSS so far, especially under the Buhari-led presidency, shows that he is not making a show of or politicising security issues. Rather, he is dealing with them frontally.
– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC)