NewsDSS Denies Employing Forceful Tactics Against Nigerians

DSS Denies Employing Forceful Tactics Against Nigerians

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

September 01, (THEWILL) – The Department of State Services (DSS) has denied a report by Amnesty International, alleging that the Nigeria Police, the DSS, were abducting innocent Nigerians under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

Amnesty International, in a press statement Wednesday, titled: “Police, SSS Abducting Innocent Nigerians Under Buhari Regime”, said, “It is unfortunate that the Nigerian government continues to use enforced disappearance as a longstanding tactic to silence critics and instil fear in civilian populations.”

According to the human rights group in the statement, to mark the International Day of the Disappeared, “Nigerian authorities must show genuine commitment to ending the heinous crime of enforced disappearances, which is still prevalent in the country.

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“When people are arrested by state agents, without any trace of their whereabouts, and the state denies knowledge of where they are, their families are exposed to unthinkable suffering; they find it difficult to move on, as they wait each day in anguish, hoping their loved ones’ return.

“Between 2020 to 2022, Amnesty International Nigeria has documented several cases of enforced disappearances, mass arrest, torture, extortions, ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions by law enforcement officers responding to the activities of IPOB in the Southeast and Southwest.”

The statement signed by the Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, called on the Nigerian authorities, “… to criminalise enforced disappearance under national law and make it punishable by appropriate penalties in view of its devastating impact on families. With ongoing conflicts across Nigeria, more families are having to bear the pain of enforced disappearance.

“The authorities must take immediate actions to end enforced disappearances and other related human rights violations. They must demonstrate zero tolerance for such crimes through ensuring independent, impartial, and effective investigations, and prosecution of those culpable in fair trials, without recourse to the death penalty.

“Enforced disappearance is an instrument of intimidation that grossly violates human rights. It is unacceptable and must stop. Nigerian authorities must also ensure that victims and their families are told the truth and that they are provided with full and effective reparations to address the harm they have suffered.”

However, in a swift reaction, the DSS in a press statement, by its Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, said, “The attention of the DSS has been drawn to a false publication by an online newspaper, Peoples Gazette, in which it quoted Amnesty International (AI), as stating that SSS abduct innocent Nigerians under Buhari regime.

“Whether reported by Peoples Gazette or Amnesty International, the Service outrightly denies this misleading narrative. It does not abduct Nigerians.

“As part of its enforcement activities, the DSS arrests when, where and if necessary. This is evidently carried out in line with tenets of democratic ideals. At no time has the agency embarked on its actions without following laid down procedures in respect of obtaining warrants of arrest or orders for detention from competent legal authorities.

“The claim of abduction or use of enforced disappearances is an absolute lie and a make-up narrative designed to bring the Service to disrepute.

“The DSS is law abiding and committed to the protection of citizens and sensitive government installations. In doing this, it will continue to discharge its mandate of intelligence collection and timely dissemination of same to relevant action agencies and stakeholders.

“Public attention should, however, be drawn to the deliberate and determined efforts of the publisher of Peoples Gazette, Samuel Ogundipe, to use his platform to undermine law and order. He is known to have, on several occasions, engaged in false and distorted publications to disinform the public.

“He and his cohorts are hereby warned, for the umpteenth time, to desist from these deplorable acts against the peace and security of the nation.

“It is time for Ogundipe and the likes to choose reason over fatuity; and patriotism over disloyalty and treachery. Their continuous mischievous resolve to use fake news and hate speech to set the country on fire is condemnable.”

Afunanya further stated that “Media practitioners in the country should rise above parochial considerations, sanitise its fold and fish out quacks among them. The media can also peer review and embark on self-censorship, as part of achieving professionalism in the industry.

“They must reject the allure of enticement by external forces to use them to instigate violence or undermine government and its institutions. Otherwise, those who run foul of the law must be ready to face justice either now or in the future.”

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