…By Jack Sylva for TDPel Media.
The Department of State Services (DSS) has addressed concerns raised by certain media outlets regarding the agency’s operations.
The DSS refuted claims made in opinion pieces that suggested the agency was exceeding its mandate.
Dr Peter Afunanya, the DSS Public Relations Officer (PRO), asserted that the secret police operates within the boundaries of its mandate and remains committed to professionalism.
Media Outlets and Legal Figures Criticized by DSS
Dr Afunanya highlighted that several major newspapers, including Vanguard, Daily Trust, The Sun, Tribune, and Punch, published editorials questioning the DSS’s actions, particularly concerning the detention of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The PRO characterized these editorials as potentially orchestrated or intentionally critical, suggesting a biased perspective.
Importance of Public Statements and Transparency
The DSS defended its occasional issuance of press statements, stating that they serve as a means to educate and keep citizens informed about national security challenges.
Dr Afunanya drew comparisons to global intelligence agencies like the CIA and FBI, which also employ similar tactics to communicate with the public.
The agency emphasized that transparency and accountability are essential in modern security and intelligence governance, aligning with democratic principles.
Clarifying DSS’s Role and Inter-Agency Relations
The DSS emphasized that it operates both as an intelligence organization and a law enforcement agency.
It clarified that each agency, including the DSS and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has its distinct mandate and context.
The agency refuted claims of a rivalry between the DSS and the EFCC, noting the differences between the recent incident at 15 Awolowo Road, Lagos, and the 2018 National Assembly barricade.
The DSS’s Commitment to National Security and Legal Authority
The DSS reiterated its commitment to detecting and preventing crimes and threats against Nigeria’s internal security.
It emphasized that its actions are governed by the rule of law and lawful authorities, including arrest and detention warrants when necessary.
The agency urged critics to familiarize themselves with the law and refrain from misinforming or misleading the public.
It affirmed its dedication to upholding the country’s security while respecting fundamental rights.
Anticipating Malicious Attacks and Emphasizing Professionalism
The DSS anticipated an increase in malicious articles and baseless attacks in response to ongoing investigations involving individuals like Godwin Emefiele and Abdulrasheed Bawa.
The agency warned of potential false allegations and propaganda aimed at tarnishing its reputation.
Nevertheless, the DSS reassured the public of its unwavering professionalism and commitment to duty, operating within the confines of the law and respecting the rights of all Nigerians.
Call for Balanced and Accurate Media Coverage
The DSS emphasized the importance of responsible media reporting, urging the media to maintain balance, accuracy, impartiality, and accountability.
It called for journalists to seek veracity in their reporting and avoid misleading the public with misconceptions.
The agency highlighted the media’s role as the fifth estate of the realm and its obligation to contribute to a well-informed society.