Department of State Services (DSS) has accused some unnamed politicians of sponsoring smear campaigns against its Director-General, Yusuf Bichi and other officials.
The secret police said the alleged discrediting followed its uncompromising stance on critical governance and policy issues.
The organisation spoke barely 24 hours after the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) announced that it had summoned an emergency meeting in Abuja to deliberate and reach a decision on the continued stay of the DSS DG in office in view of his recent activities, which they said, allegedly undermined President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of free and fair general elections.
The opposition leaders, in a statement by its Steering Committee Secretary, High Chief Peter Ameh, also expressed worry about alleged continuous involvement of the DSS boss in activities, which they claimed, threaten the hope for credible polls.
DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, in a statement, yesterday, said those behind the plot have engaged civil society and non-governmental organisations to not only sustain but stage further rallies, road shows and press conferences and use the occasions to discredit Bichi.
His words: “Also, sections of the media have been briefed to implement the strategy through sponsored articles, commentaries and features to malign the DG, his family and select officials of the Service.
“The Service is monitoring developments and will allow the plotters to either exhaust themselves or rescind the plan of action. Otherwise, no amount of intimidation, harassment and blackmail will deter it from discharging its duties.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the DSS hierarchy to desist from harassing, intimidating, arresting and arbitrarily detaining citizens for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
It also condemned the Gestapo operational format of publicly funded security agencies.
The group said if security agencies seek the attention of any citizen, inviting the person properly in writing is the way to go rather than the “use of invasion of the living places of such a person as if to say the person is a common criminal.”
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, HURIWA urged President Muhammadu Buhari to caution his security heads against attracting unfavorable public image for his person in the final phase of his two terms as elected leader, who swore an oath of allegiance to fully comply with provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
It specifically spoke against the “reported arrest in the middle of the night in a Gestapo military style of an activist and president of Middle Belt Youths Forum, Godwin Meliga, who has been detained by the DSS allegedly on the orders of the Director General since last December 19.”
The organisation said the youth leader had “reportedly addressed the media same day of his nocturnal arrest by the DSS, in which the activist supposedly condemned the secret police for allegedly attempting to obtain an ex- parte order to detain the embattled Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, for alleged terrorism. According to news report, the detained activist had described the action of the DSS as a hatchet job.”
In the statement, Onwubiko said it was “undemocratic, unconstitutional and violates the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens to detain them no known crime, but rather for voicing their free opinions on policy matters when in fact, the Constitution in Section 14 (2）(c) provides that the participation by the people in their government shall be ensured in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”
He, therefore, appealed to the President to order the DSS to “immediately free Meliga and stop further violations of his fundamental human rights as provided for in Chapter 4 of the Constitution, including Section 39(1).”