Cautioning the new acting director general of the Department of state services (DSS) Mr. Mathew Seiyefa against tokenism and double speak, a prominent civil society organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has advocated the creation of an autonomous human rights investigative directorate within the department for state services (DSS).
The Rights group said this call for the activation of an effective internal mechanism for the safeguard of the human rights of accused persons has become imperative and urgent given the accumulated public image deficits created by the unwarranted abuses of the rights of citizens who have encountered the Department of state services officer the years and most especially since three years ago. “The respect of the human rights of the citizenry will go a long way in helping the agency to build good enough data bank of actionable intelligence that would flow in from a much more robust relationship between the ordinary citizens and officers/operatives of the DSS”.
Besides, the Rights group has stressed that inspite of the deluge of civil rights violations committed by the immediate past Director General of DSS Malam Lawal Daura, his constitutional rights to fair hearing in line with constitutional safeguards enshrined in chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution; the African charter on human and people’s rights; the Universal Declarations of HUMAN RIGHTS(UDHR) and the international covenants on civil and political rights must be respected, guaranteed and enforced.
HURIWA has therefore called for another anti-graft body such as the independent corrupt practices or other allied matters panel (ICPC) or a joint panel of the ICPC and the office of the National security Adviser to handle any matter of claims of violations of financial regulations made against the recently dismissed head of the secret police.
HURIWA said since it is factually correct that the DSS under the direct control of the dismissed director general had indicted the acting chairman of the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) Alhaji Ibrahim Magu of gross misconduct which denied him the endorsement of the parliament for a substantive position as full-fledged Chairman from the outcomes of the senate confirmation hearing sessions twice, it will be irregular to allow a man who has an axe to grind to oversee the prosecution of his perceived adversary.
“We think it is wrong to allow Ibrahim Magu to take his own pound of flesh by investigating or prosecuting the immediate past DG of SEA. This will be like allowing him to have a revenge extra legally.”
“The erstwhile director general of DSS as well as all other past heads of DSS, NIA must be accorded the highest human rights respect in line with chapter 4 of the constitution so the purity of the constitution is maintained and to stop the perpetration of gross abuses of the human rights of the citizenry even if some of these persons were once accused of carrying out brazen violations of the human rights of Nigerians. Whereas we call for their investigations, prosecution and sanctions if found guilty by the competent courts of law, we do hope that the principle of rule of law must be respected and adhered to.”
In a statement made against the backdrop of the new policy blue prints read out to the media by the acting director general of DSS, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the Director of National Media Affairs Miss Zainab Yusuf in a jointly authorized statement asked the new head of DSS to concretize his pledges to respect human rights by inaugurating a human right and citizens’ complaints directorate.
“Just as was done only few months back in the Nigerian Army by the Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai drawing support from civil rights groups, the Nigerian Bar Association and the National Human Rights Commission, we are challenging the DSS to be-transparent and accountable In the discharge of their law enforcement duties by following the positive footsteps of the Nigerian Army to set up a functional but autonomous directorate for human rights to be embedded within the DSS”.
HURIWA also criticized the newly appointed acting DG of DSS for his decision to play on the perceived gullibility of the citizens by dishing out empty rhetorics and by only pledging to right the wrongs of the immediate past DG when he could have taken the bull by the horn by releasing Colonel Sambo Dasuki on bail and Ibrahim El’zaczacky on bail in line with the decisions of the courts of law. He doesn’t have to wait for the Acting President or President Muhammadu Buhari to tell him when to carry out the dictates of the law in line with binding decisions of competent courts of law.”
“We watched the inaugural media interaction done by the acting head of DSS with so much expectations and interests, but we were disappointed when the man resorted to tokenism and making of politically correct statements lacking in action.”
“We demand once again that the detention facilities of DSS be made accessible by institutions registered to protect and promote human rights so the longstanding allegations of human rights abuses are resolved lawfully.”
HIRIWA recalled that the acting DG The Department of State Services (DSS) had promised to review all cases of illegal detention, especially that of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and other related human rights violations allegedly carried out by the agency.
HURIWA recalled that the Acting Director General of DSS, Mr. Mathew Seiyefa who stated this during his maiden media interface in Abuja, said the agency will consider reappointing a substantive Spokesman in order to facilitate a smooth working relationship with the Media and members of the public.
HURIWA quoted the Acting head of DSS Mr. Mathew Saiyefa of also vowing to promote national interest and eschew zero tolerance for sectional, group and ethnic interests.
HURIWA recalled that he affirmed that the agency would review all arrests and detentions after he had obtained proper briefings from relevant stakeholders just as he did not say when Dasuki would be released, but he assured that all cases of illegal arrests and detentions by the agency were being reviewed to ensure that no Nigerian was unduly detained.
Seyifa said, “I am being briefed on the issue of Dasuki. I will be able to make a statement on it after being properly briefed. “In the coming days we will review all situations, particularly as relating to DSS and other agencies working together to promote national security. He also assured Nigerians that the service will continue to protect the nation’s interest at all times. “Nigeria comes first; the peace and security of this nation come first.”