Recently, the Directorate of State Services (DSS) came out, publicly, to label the Police and other the anti-graft agencies, without discrimination, as impostors.
For effect, it warned the public that not all operators in black uniforms belong to the Service. Let us assume that not all in black uniforms are of the DSS, does that make them impostors? They will qualify to be described as such if they claim that they are of the Service when they are not.
Black colour is not preserved exclusively for the DSS. It must be noted that the Police started using the black colour for their uniforms even before the DSS was carved out of it, first as National Security Organisation (NSO).
Even among children of same parents, there are often petty squabbles easily dismissed as sibling rivalry. Psychologists insist that if not well managed it could lead to serious consequences. Extending such rivalry to the disciplined forces is sure to impede the smooth running of the nation’s security apparatus.
Admitted, inter-service rivalry is part of the game as they engage themselves in turf war. In such situations, words such as ‘this is my territory, I give orders here’ are heard. Often, it is considered normal and taken in good faith. Any brushes therefrom ,is restrained so as to build mutual trust and respect. Friendly fires occur regularly.
But what is going on now among the security agencies in Nigeria is beyond what can be explained as minor brushes along the line of duty. It is very bitter, unhealthy acrimony that is capable of impacting negatively on the time tested esprit de corps that should exist among the arms of the agencies concerned.
The problem the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, himself a serving police officer, is having regarding his confirmation by the Senate is as a result of a negative report by the DSS.
In a friendlier environment, that matter, whatever it was, would have been resolved without using the information emanating from it for acts of perceptible witch- hunt. It must be understood that the Department of State Services (DSS), is the number one domestic intelligence agency of Nigeria
It is primarily responsible for intelligence gathering within the country and for the protection of senior government officials, particularly the President and state governors. It is one of three successor organisations to the National Security Organization (NSO), dissolved in 1986.
The mission of the DSS is to protect and defend the Federal Republic of Nigeria against domestic threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of Nigeria, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to both federal and state law-enforcement organs.
The DSS is also charged with the protection of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Governors, their immediate families, other high ranking government officials, past presidents and their spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government. It has constantly adapted to various roles necessitated by evolving security threats in Nigeria including counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency.
Still, in our opinion, the Police and other agencies of government involved in security operations can and do wear black uniforms and from what we see, they also wear labels to reflect their own agency and that does not make them impostors. The point we want to stress here is that inter-agency cordiality is of paramount importance in the efforts to overcome the security challenges facing the nation. It will be ill-advised if the security agencies start fighting dirty in public. It will create the wrong impression in the minds of the populace
What is more, the desired synergy derivable from what is usually described as ‘old boy network’ will be lacking in the security operations of the nation when actually what is needed is concerted and collaborative approach to every situation that constitutes a threat to the territorial integrity and internal cohesion of the country.
If the operatives of the various agencies are not observing the thin lines that demarcate their specialised functions, then, there are other more convenient ways of sorting things out at the appropriate level without wittingly or unwittingly resorting to name calling in the public space. No security agency knows it all to the point of being self-dependent.
There are, always, a meeting point that can be blurred by irreverent, albeit, unintended use of words in the heat of passion. In-fighting among the security agencies and their operatives is one luxury the nation can ill-afford at this time. If it is happening, which we pray not, then it is time for the overall commander to check the spark before it becomes a conflagration.