Acting Director-General of the Department of State Services, DSS, Matthew Seiyifa, has promised to look into the complaints of human rights abuse leveled against the service, assuring that the agency would review all arrests and detentions after he had obtained proper briefings from relevant stakeholders.
Among the allegations brought against the secret police in the last three years are disregard for the rule of law and arbitrary arrest, including the prolonged detention of a former National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki
Speaking at a media parley at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, Seiyifa disclosed that all cases of illegal arrests and detentions by the agency were being reviewed to ensure that no Nigerian was unduly detained, assuring that under him, the service would take a different approach.
He promised to collaborate with other security agencies in security management and to promote national interest.
According to the new DSS boss, “We are reviewing all issues that have brought about unhealthy perceptions about the service in recent times including detentions and perceived human rights abuses.
“We will respect the rights of groups or individuals as long as they are legitimate. We will work on the basis of our core roles and mandate which are the detection and prevention of threats against the internal security of Nigeria.
“We will not tolerate the abuse of freedom of Nigerians and we will not be intimidated nor cowed as we will protect our mandate.”
Seiyefa said the service would do its best to diffuse the perception about it, adding that it was critical to the security architecture of the country.
He said it would also redouble its efforts to improve on intelligence gathering and analysis to guide policy formulation and security management.
Seiyifa said the service would collaborate with the media to project its activities, adding that the appointment of a spokesman for the service was under active consideration.
“The issue of having a spokesperson to respond to media inquiries is under active consideration,” he said.