The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned Segun Adeniyi, a former presidential spokesperson, not to disparage the identity of the secret police and other security organisations in the country.
The warning was handed down in a statement issued by Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations Officer of the DSS, on Thursday following a statement written in Adeniyi’s latest Thursday column.
Adeniyi, the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, in his column in the newspaper on Thursday entitled: “Beyond Abba Kyari’s Indictment”, criticised both the police and the DSS over alleged arbitrary arrest and detention of Nigerians while reacting to some details concerning the operations of the embattled Kyari, who has been suspended from the police force.
“We have unwittingly created a situation in which those who bear arms on behalf of the state have become mercenaries for hire by just about anybody who can pay for their services. And to imagine it started with the case of Hushpuppi or that it will end with him is to live on fantasy island. I enjoin readers to do a simple Google search: Hundreds of innocent citizens are currently languishing in police or State Security Services (SSS) detention centres across the country, following arrests ordered by powerful men and women,” the renowned journalist and columnist wrote.
Responding, the DSS said Adeniyi put out an “erroneous” representation of its agency in his column, describing the comment as unacceptable.
According to the secret police, the respected columnist should not have made what it described as a sweeping comment, especially as he has been around the seat of power before and understands the implication of such a statement on national security.
The DSS acknowledged that while it may not be perfect, it insisted that it is working for the good of Nigerians and should, therefore, not be run down at any slightest opportunity.
The statement read: “This is not true. I do not speak for the Police but it is certain that no Nigerian or anyone for that matter is in the SSS/DSS custody on the order(s) of private citizens or persons. The SSS has an SOP on the criminal justice administration.
“The media owes a duty, propelled by good conscience and common good, to guide public narratives about some government agencies and their sacrifices to uphold security, peace and unity of this nation, Nigeria. The SSS should not be run down given the slightest opportunity. You had been at the commanding heights of governance and national security administration and management to understand issues so as not to misinform the public.
“It is unacceptable for a respectable columnist of your experience and status to make a sweeping statement like the one herein. It is misleading, inciting, denigrating, demeaning, misinforming and should be withdrawn. The SSS and indeed security agencies, if not praised, should be supported. The Organisation may not be perfect but it is doing so much for the Country. It respects and loves the citizens and residents and strives to serve them based on best practices, rule of law/engagement and a balance between rights and national security.”
The DSS urged Adeniyi to “correct this erroneous impression created about the Service”.