The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on leadership of the Department of State Services (DSS) to look into what it describes as invasion of its office in Jabi, Abuja, while its staff members were observing the public holidays declared by Federal Government of Nigeria.
CISLAC made the appeal in a letter dated Wednesday 29 December, 2021 and signed by its Executive Director, Malam Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani).
According to the letter addressed to the Director General of the DSS, the civil society group that is the Nigeria’s chapter of Transparent International (TI-N), complained that operatives from the service had laid siege on its office premises in what was initially thought to be the usual way some individuals masquerade as DSS agents.
“This thought was further reinforced by the fact that was no prior notice, invitation or pending request from your office regarding any of such visit.
“However, when we put a call through to the number dropped with our office security personnel, an individual further confirmed that he was an agent of your agency providing details of his position.
“Sir, considering recent activities of criminals using official security covers to perpetrate wanton criminalities in the recent past, we want you to use your good office to investigate those who carried out this visit and for what purpose(s).
“We will also request that you call these operatives to order and charge them to be civil in their approach and not militarize our nascent democracy,” CISLAC urged the DG DSS.
At this point, it said, “we cannot jump into conclusion as to the exact reasons behind this gestapo approach; however, this kind of unprofessional visits clearly violates existential rights guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and puts the country on a global map of ‘bad policing’ and seen shrinking voices of citizens demanding for good governance in the interest of all.
“Visits like these further feed fears that the country is gradually snowballing into autocracy with the regular abuse of powers from those parading themselves as agents of the state.
“As an organization, we believe in the rule of law. We have complied with all statutes and thereby have not violated any law.
“We urge you to use your good office to put an end to this trend of shrinking civic space and the on-going attempt to weaken democratic institutions to which the civil society community represents an aspect.
“We look forward to your immediate intervention,” the group said in the letter titled ‘Intimidation & profiling of civil society groups during the yuletide’.