Editor's note: Adeniyi Ogundare, an analyst and commentator, writes on recent activities of the State Security Services (SSS), appointment of important leadership of the secret police.
Ogundare highlights efforts being made by the current SSS boss, Yusuf Magaji Bichi in calming the troubled waters within the agency.
The State Security Service (SSS), Nigeria’s Secret Police, is perhaps going through one of its most challenging period since its establishment.
The agency whose activities are often shrouded in secrecy has in the last few months become a subject of front page news headlines.
The most recent was on August 7, 2018, when Nigerians woke up to news of the invasion of the National Assembly by security agencies led by operatives of the SSS.
That incident culminated in the sack of the then Director General of the SSS, Lawal Musa Daura. Suffice it to say that Daura’s tenure was characterised by controversies starting with the raid and arrest of seven senior judges over alleged involvement in corruption, followed by the arrest and detention of one Jones Abiri, a journalist.
The blockade of the national Assembly was in a way the proverbial last straw that broke the camel’s back. Consequently, Daura was relieved of his appointment and directed to hand over to the most senior serving officer of the agency pending the appointment of a substantive Director General.
Mr. Matthew Seyifa held forth as Acting DG until President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Yusuf Magaji Bichi as the Substantive Dg SSS on September 13th, 2018.
Bichi came into the position with over 35 years of experience garnered as director in the various directorates of the secret police including Director at National Headquarters in the Directorate of Administration and Finance, Security Enforcement, Operations, Intelligence, Inspectorate and National Assembly Liaison.
One area of concern for those familiar with the agency was the administrative somersault in the recent past which had taken its toll on the morale of officers and men of the Service. However, since taking over the helm of affairs, Bichi has undertaken a review of the operations and welfare of personnel.
As a result, the gloom and air of uncertainty that had pervaded the lives of officers and men of the agency in the last few years have obviously been lifted.
His first major action was the posting of senior officers to fill up vacancies which existed at various levels of the organisation. This move elevated senior officers to positions of responsibility befitting their rank rather than manning desk below their level.
Similarly, he has commenced the payment of allowances hitherto suspended under the previous administrations. He has also put in place measures to reward hard working departments and units especially those critical to operations and intelligence gathering and analysis.
Using his experience as a former director of Admin and Finance, the new DG is reviewing the welfare and working condition of staff to boost morale, enhance dedication and professionalism of officers and men of the organisation while happing on discipline.
He is also opening up the management cadre by creating new offices to accommodate very senior officers thus ensuring unhindered career progression at that level.
One remarkable attribute of Bichi is that he operates an open door policy which makes him easily accessible.
This allows him to get direct feedback on areas of discontent and monitor the impact of management policies on the morale of officers. Already, many officers say the impact of Bichi’s reform is being felt.
They disclosed that some officers who were previously considering looking elsewhere for jobs have ditched the idea and are now optimistic of seeing out their working years in the agency.
Officers at the National headquarters of the SSS at Asokoro popularly called “the Yellow House”, say it is a new era especially for the younger ones.
They believe the new reforms and attention being given to their welfare has restored their dignity and pride which was badly bruised before Bichi’s appointment.
No doubt, the new DG is gradually calming the storm that had almost swallowed Nigeria's premier intelligence agency.
However, there are fears that some very senior officers who had benefitted from the old order may try to frustrate his good intentions.
There is no doubt that there may be some in the upper echelon of the agency whose greed may be affected by the transparent policies of the new administration.
There may also be those whose plots to occupy the prestigious office was thwarted by the appointment of Bichi.
These persons through their action or inaction may attempt to sabotage his leadership by impeding operations, creating divisions among the ranks and files and stoking primordial sentiments.
PAY ATTENTION: Download our mobile app to enjoy the best news updates
However, such division and rancour is not needed for an agency which occupies a very critical place in the national security architecture of the country.
The creed for the SSS should always be, Nigeria first.
The top brass must subsume their selfish ambitions, greed and pride under national interest and work to tackle the myriad of threat to our collective good as a nation.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng.
Your own opinion articles are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org— drop an email telling us what you want to write about and why. More details in Legit.ng’s step-by-step guide for guest contributors.
We’re ready to trade your news for our money: submit news and photo reports from your area using our Citizen Journalism App.
Contact us if you have any feedback, suggestions, complaints or compliments. We are also available on Twitter.