National Security and the Rule of Law: Department of State Service Approach, By AbdulRahman Agboola


The advanced Countries we tend to emulate when arguments, positions and thoughts on rule of laws are expressed rarely toy with a pristine issue such as national security. Opinion leaders cannot merely display favouritism to ethno religious bias understand the skewed federal character that seems to respect competence and equal treat of citizen’s rights and privileges. Had previous administrations in Nigeria between  1994 and 2015 not deviated from solid foundations for a society, where security of lives and properties will not be jeopardized, by defiant members of the society that expressed violent resistance to order of governance or agitations for resource control or address of deprivations, this government would certainly not have been confronted with series of blackmail and propaganda by the detractors of the administration struggling to turn the odds to even,  in fulfilment of the aspirations of the masses.
How can the discretionary powers of Mr President to appoint any trusted expert to mount tough positions in government as important as the Director of State Security Services become subject of serious attack as if an offence has been committed. Alas, shallow thinkers expects the President to play unmerited politics with sensitive appointments when security background check are conducted on any appointee to such position. When Lawal Daura held sway as the Director of State Security Services, there were reported cases of complacent behaviours by personnel that felt a kinsman of the President should not call shots in the agency. All through his reign as DG DSS, Lawal Daura handle State Matters as circumstances demanded especially with tension in different parts of the Country when he took over the mantle of leadership and he was adjudged as a no nonsense presiding office that supervised the rebirth of discipline into the agency, until he got involved in a terrain he simply wasn’t familiar with the crookedness.
Though Lawal Daura was hammered for dispatching officers to the National Assembly to avoid a sordid occurrence Inna display eventually categorised as a siege on the National Assembly for all the attendant effects and interpretation, majority of those opposed to the eventual appointment of Yusuf Magaji Nicholas as the new Director General of the Department of State Security Services are merely expressing lack of respect for the discretion of the President.The acting Director General, DSS Matthew Seiyefa is undoubtedly a quality officer eminently qualified to be appointed as a substantive Director General despite his retirement from the Service close to call, any person to be appointed must surely earn the absolute trust of Mr President for the most sensitive position of the headship of an agency with enormous responsibilities bothering on protection and defense of the Country against domestic threats and other sundry issues.
The appointment of Matthew Seiyefa was surely to fill the vaccum created by the sack of Lawal Daura which was regarded by pundits as job hazard common in security agencies. The facts that Nigerians get carried away with opportunities for their kinsmen to benefit appointments shouldn’t lead to tantrums against the new DG,  DSS Yusuf Magaji Bichiwith stainless record in the agency all through his years of service. For the avoidance of doubt, Yusuf Magaji with experience as a former Director of State Service Academy certainly possessed required knowledge of the nitty gritty of Nigeria’s security architectural workings and shortcomings. Considering the expertise knowledge of President Muhammadu Buhari, one cannot doubt the sterling contributions of Yusuf Magaji to the advancement of the agency where earned a career for a whooping 35 years of diligent services and positive accomplishment must have endeared him to Mr President for such as appointment,  why then the crucifixion by same people canvassing for one Nigeria only when appointments favours their kinsmen.
Many Nigerians that lay claim to social and intellectual exposure to contemporary issues globally are those usually expressing weird opinions bothering of North and South, not minding excellence or competence, they simply promote the unfounded claims of intelligence of one tribe over the other, as if we are in Nigeria of the 18th Century. If a Nigerian must be respected as a Nigerian in Nigeria, it’s time for opinion leaders to rise in their numbers with clean intentions to guide against abuse of the media and public fora to create further aparthy among citizens along our tribal and religious divides. This brought a reminisce of propaganda against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo by religious gamers that alleged him of not protecting Christians interest as if the Presidency of Federal Executive Council where he has influenced are meant to promote religious interest.
When a musician recently released a video track ” this is Nigeria” he earned condemnation by interested personalities that accused him of defaming religious images in his release, as demeaning as any image might be, if it’s the truth, sane minds only dedicate their energies to correct the ills of the society. Had the headers farmers crisis and other killings just surfaced for the first time under this administration, the bulk of blame being hanged on Mr President for his Fulani origin would have been genuine, but for problems that have lingered for over 30 years without permanent solutions to be used to blackmail Mr President is surely one reason Mr President got it right to have appointed a personality he can trust as the Director General of DSS and no condemnation of his discretion can override his authority to act in that order.
Having gained the confidence of the President, the main challenges expected by Nigerians to engage the new DSS boss are issues that bothered on protection of citizens and public properties especially in the tensed environments. Domestic threats are currently rising within oil producing communities in  Akuku Toru Local Government of Rivers State especially around Abonnema, Santana……….Belema and Kula Island over an alleged sponsorship of mercenaries by Shell Oil Producing Company(SPDC) against Belema Oil that is currently developing those communities with a lightening speed as reflected in the giant developmental strides of Belema Oil Company giving hope to those communities through series of commendable Corporate Social Responsibilities that has recently fetched the communities portable waters, electricity, massive employment opportunities for youth, road constructions among other positive accomplishment that have eluded those communities over the years before the operational activities of Belema Oil in those communities.
The abate of pirate activities on the waterways, stoppage of oil bunkering and reduction of kidnapping to the lowest level are all attributed to the efforts of the Department of State Security joint coordination with the Nigeria Military Service in those communities which seems not visible some twenty five years ago are achieve recently simple for show of responsibility by Belema Oil and the peace attained shouldn’t be jettisoned for any reason. Yusuf Magaji must be assisted with required intelligence reports through opinions sharpened to protect the Country against domestic threats, promotion of internal security and safeguarding the society at large against breakdown of laws. The educated folks in a Country are to be commended if government performance in the advancement of the welfare of the people goes above average and are to be equally condemned if otherwise, reason being that both mischief and truth determines progress or retrogression is every society.
Whenever the image of a country’s leadership is consistently disparaged by the western press and local civil society organizations are well mobilized to protest every attempt of government to curb indiscipline among political office holders, the educated folks should reason beyond sentimental interest and affinity, there must be serious conflict between the rule of law and national security. The most annoying situation is that no advance country toy with national security and the only item that has ensure sanity in their clime is national security above the rule of law, when the situation arises. If this is well digested, it behoove on lawful citizens to rise in protection of Yusuf Magaji as the new head of the State Security Services. It’s only those without sufficient knowledge of the essential services being offered by the DSS that are promoting discord on the altar of quota system and federal character.
That retired personnel are appointed to supervise and coordinate agencies they previously served is not alien to our polity and if it once worked well, it can actually work better without loss of motivation by serving officers. It’s a known fact that the head of an agency cannot be everywhere to avoid sabotage by discerning minds, that fact equally proved beyond reasonable doubt that fault lines exist that mustn’t be crossed by personnel without getting fired, it’s left to those crying holier-than-thou to place their sense of nationalism above sectionalism. The right and positive approach to issues bothering on appointment regarding discretion is to throw weight behind the appointed personality and guide him to success through regular call to order where needed. Of all comments and voice of dissents to the appointment of Yusuf Magaji as the Director General of the Department of State Security Services, not a single person has pointed an accusing finger at a personality that served in different sensitive positions and rose through the ranks for 35 years of diligent services to reach the peak before retirement earlier this year.
Going through various expressions, those that even exhibited bias in favour of Matthew Seiyefa have not in any manner placed him of better distinction over Yusuf Magaji in their records of services, both personnel are trusted men of honour within the agency and opportunities equally exist in future for a fine officer like Matthew Seiyefa to return to head the agency one day, going by antecedents of appointments of retired personnel to head agencies in Nigeria.  For now, the man that deserves our support, guidance and opinions is Yusuf Magaji with hallmark for effective service delivery.
AbdulRahman Agboola
Former President,
National Youth Council of Nigeria 08032813279


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