Several acts of impunity have historically been linked with Nigeria’s State Security Service, SSS (aka DSS). SSS is organised, designed, programmed and weaponised to protect the state and oppress the people, just like the Nazi Schutzstaffel. To achieve its core remit of state protection the Nigerian state equips the organisation with Gestapo style designed guns, eyeshades, Teflon suites, and detention fortresses in a desperate attempt to emulate the Nazi Reich. Its operatives are constantly equipped by their power drunk bosses with instructions to disobey perceived unfavourable court orders, imbibe and exhibit attitudes of intimidation and always act and be seen to act above the law; all in the attempt to copy Schutzstaffel- German SS; which was prepared to carry out state security services with the least modicum of regard for legal restraint.
Put succinctly, SSS(DSS) operatives are trained, managed and steered to act as enemies and oppressors of the people, and constantly reminded that overtly or covertly, they are protectors of state power and coercion, and sworn enemies of human rights activists, journalists, social media users, and freedom fighters.
Formerly known as National Security Organisation (NSO) and previously headed by Colonel Abdullahi Mohammed (1976-1979), Umaru Shinkafi (1973-1983) and Mohammed Lawal Rafindadi (1973-1983), the organisation has a culture of torture and intimidation of human rights activists, freedom fighters and journalists in an attempt to silence them.
Rafindadi’s tenure as head of the Nigerian Gestapo (aka SSS) lasted during the first administration of General Muhammadu Buhari between 1984 and 1985. Within the period, the organization was responsible for holding several innocent Nigerians in detention without trial just like today’s SSS (DSS). Under Rafindadi’s leadership of the gang, FAS, reports that NSO was given sharp oppressive powers and armed with decrees 2 and 4 which empowered it to detain indefinitely without trial and torture uncompromising journalists.
Buhari held his overthrown politicians collectively responsible for the economic mess under his watch and employed NSO to detain them without trial. Whenever there were some resemblances of trial, a basic tenet of the rule of law was jettisoned, as the accused was assumed guilty until proved innocent rather than innocent until proved guilty. Journalists and media organizations were regularly harassed by NSO operatives and interest groups whose members dared to criticize the government openly or engage in demonstrations or strikes were proscribed.
However, in August 1985, a military coup toppled the lawless totalitarian military regime of the Daura born homosapien, and the coupists led by Ibrahim Babangida placed Rafindadi in solitary confinement for 40 months (FAS). In 1986 Babangida issued Decree Number 19 which dissolved the NSO and restructured Nigeria’s security services into three security organisations, namely, the Defence Intelligence Agency; the National Intelligence Agency; and the State Security Service (SSS), and section 315 of the 1999 constitution incorporated the decree into the constitution.
Nevertheless, nothing changed as Babangida’s regime continued to act arbitrarily and with impunity and used SSS to arrest and incarcerate several innocent citizens who were subjected to physical assault and all sorts of degrading treatments. “Human rights remained substantially circumscribed, decree Number 2 remained in place, and numerous citizens were incarcerated under it”. Despite having annulled Decree Number 4 the government had several brushes with media organisations. In 1988, Newswatch magazine was proscribed for six months, and journalists and civil rights activists continued to be harassed by SSS. Most significantly on October 19, 1986, “foremost journalist and one of the founding editors of Newswatch magazine was assassinated via a parcel bomb inside his Lagos home”. From November to December 1997, SSS notoriously arrested journalists- Fakeye, Jenkins Alumona, and Onome Osifo-Whiskey, former managing editor of Tell magazine, just to name a few.
Fast forward to the present regime and second stint of Buhari; SSS has remained largely lawless, draconian, authoritarian in approach and dreaded by the citizenry. Its operatives are still trained to behave in manners that conjure the brutality of Rafindadi, the inhumanity of the Abacha and Babangida juntas, and the authoritarian and totalitarian outlook of Buhari’s first stint.
SSS (aka-DSS) is largely, a vestige of authoritarian military dictatorships in Nigeria, and remains proactively lawless. It operates above the law and continuously disobeys and circumvents court orders with the active connivance of the attorney general’s office. Its current operations and tactics (2015-2021) remain anti-people, anti-democracy and anti-rule of law, just like former Nazi Germany’s Schutzstaffel, which it copies. The organisation as currently constituted and operated has no place in a democratic society. The group is an imprint, reminder, impression, and souvenir of colonial and pre-colonial slave powers. But their current operatives, administrators and directors seem to be happy with that.
They remain conditioned and determined to continue to operate with impunity, as they enjoy freedom from punishment. Most recently SSS is now believed to be involved in rendition and safekeeping of the trophy of rendition; hooding and chaining suspects; taking over the management of court chambers and premises; and before I forget, taking over and blockading the National Assembly; all in the attempt to overdo the Schutzstaffel, its mentor and model. Could someone please remind them that Schutzstaffel is now forever dumped onto the German graveyard of infamy.
It is now time to give #SSS aka DSS, the #endsars treatment. The organisation should be abrogated forthwith. This will need the amendment of the 1999 constitution as amended, to delete the lawless organisation from the already jaundiced constitution. The ethnicization of this ungodly company, coupled with the infusion of Buhari regime’s well-known traits of religious bigotry, injustice and nepotism, into their mental constructs, make the deletion, even more urgent.
By- Austin Aneke