9 August 2018

Nigeria: New SSS Chief Pledges to Review Unlawful Detentions, Rights Abuses

Newly Acting Director General, State Security Service, (SSS) Mr Seiyefa Mathew after his meeting with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (7/08/18). 04270/7/8/2018/Sumaila Ibrahim/ICE/NAN Pic 35 Newly Acting Director General, Department of State Services, (DSS) Mr Seiyefa Mathew after his meeting with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (7/08/18).

The acting Director-General of the State Security Service (SSS), Matthew Seiyefa, says the service is reviewing all cases of alleged unlawful detentions and human rights abuses by the service.

The acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, appointed Mr Seiyefa after sacking the former Director-General, Lawal Daura, for unauthorised deployment of operatives of the service to lay siege to the National Assembly complex.

Mr Seiyefa, who disclosed this during his maiden interaction with journalists on Thursday in Abuja, said the service would remain focused and professional in protecting national interest.

"We are reviewing all issues that have brought about unhealthy perceptions about the service in recent times including detentions and perceived human rights abuses," he said.

"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," he said.

He said that the service would work to promote and protect the national interests and not individual or sectional agenda.

Mr Seiyefa said that 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.

He promised to partner with other security agencies and relevant stakeholders in the country to provide security to the citizenry.

The acting director-general said that the service would discharge its mandate within the tenets of rule of law as obtained globally.

On the continued detention of retired Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser, Mr Seiyefa said it was early to make any definite decision as he was still studying cases before him.

He said that the service would collaborate with the media to project the activities of the service, adding that the appointment of a spokesperson for the service was under "active consideration".

"The issue of having a spokesperson to respond to media inquiries is under active consideration," he said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the SSS under Mr Daura refused to appoint a spokesperson amid several cases of human rights abuses and illegal detentions.

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