By AHAOMA KANU
SINCE September 9 when they were handed their termination letters from the State Services Academy, SSA, in Lagos, some of the dismissed cadets of the Department of State Security (DSS) are still appealing for reinstatement as they said there was no flaw involved in their recruitment as stated by the service.
They revealed to the National Daily that the frustrations they have gone through within the last few weeks following their dismissal has made some of them to start thinking of going into nefarious activities.
“Our dismissal is a security threat. The way I am feeling is not the way others are feeling; they might have some thoughts in their mind. Everybody has the way they react to pressure and situations. Some of them might be tempted to join Boko Haram,” one of the dismissed cadet said.
According to him, that hopeless condition alone may tempt them to go and do other things that may be nefarious since they have gotten the training and they were bundled off like that.
“So many of them have already started posting some kind of messages on Facebook on what they are undergoing. Again, some of them sold some of their belongings to get the money to travel to Lagos for the training; some borrowed money and owe. These people are now left out in the cold and are prone to do anything to survive.”
They further revealed that out of the 65 cadets that were dismissed; eight were reinstated, reducing the number of affected persons presently to 57.
The DSS had in a letter of termination dated September 4 with Ref number VET.4/103 and signed by one G.K Mohammed for the Director General, informed the affected officers who were said to have been in the academy since December 2014 for a 10-month training programme and were due for commissioning into the service as Senior Intelligence Officers, SIO, on October 26, 2015, of their dismissal from service.
“I am directed to inform you that the DG, State Services (DGSS), has approved the termination of your appointment rom Service with immediate effect,” the letter reads in part.
“You are however, required to handover all Government properties in your possession including your study guides/notebooks to the Director of Studies, State Services Academy (SSA), Lagos and obtain appropriate clearance before your final exit, please.”
But according to some of the affected officers who spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity, their recruitment was handled by the DSS and followed due process.
He narrated that he, like every other cadet, submitted a written application along with his credentials and was later called for an exam to be admitted into the Service.
“You just submit a hand written application and your credentials. It was a very free exercise. I wrote my application, submitted all my credentials and I was called for an exam. After the exam, like three months after, I received a call that I was successful and have been enlisted into the service,” he said.
The National Daily learnt 452 cadets recruited and posted to the SSA in Ojo, Lagos for the Cadet Officers Basic Course 28 of 2014 have undergone training in Surveillance, Surreptitious Entry, Counter-Terrorism, Agent Handling, Target Selection, Explosive Device Handling, Arms Handling, Physical Security and VIP Protection training. They also went through the land school where they were handled by agents from MI5.
“We went through other drills and exercise; there were some exercises that we were being handled by MI5. We went for Lands school and they gave us certificate to show that we were fit to do all these things,” he said.
With less than few weeks to be officially commissioned as Senior Intelligence Officers, upon completion of their training at the State Services Academy, Lagos, on 26th October 2015, the cadets were called out on September 6 and dismissed summarily from the Service.
Recalling how they were called out and asked to retrieve their belongings, another affected officer disclosed that there had been some insinuations by some senior officers that some of them would be removed from the academy.
“We were in the gym studying VIP protection course; we wanted to do some practical and they asked all of us to move out from the gym to the football field. We went there and they said that we should select our principals; we had already started the practice and while we were at it, one of our course officers now came out and called everybody together and said that if you hear your name you come out,” he said. And that marked the beginning of their dismissal.
He noted that same names called in the field were later called on the parade ground, and were asked to move somewhere, not knowing that where they were asked to move to had been cordoned by armed men positioned at different strategic positions.
”When we got to the junction, we were asked to proceed to our respective hostels and pack our load. They followed us and were positioned on the way to all the hostels, he said”
But a senior officer of the service told the media that the trainees were sent out because “their recruitment did not follow laid down procedures of choosing personnel into the service”.
“They were dumped on the service by politicians through the active connivance of the past leadership of the service. We are re-organising the service so we cannot afford to have partisan political moles in our midst,” the source said.
One of the dismissed officers is a relation to the former spokesperson of the DSS, Marilyn Ogar, who had also been dismissed from service. Insinuations that the disengagement of the officers was a witch-hunt were dismissed by the service as they maintained that the present leadership of the service is determined to reposition the service to its professional roles.
“There is nothing personal about the decision of the service. It was a very painful decision in view of the investment made on them but it was a decision that must be taken,” he said.
One of the affected officers confirmed that while they were undergoing training no preferential treatment was meted out to anybody.
“There was nothing like that, she was treated like the rest of us. I don’t know if this is about her as we read that in the papers. We are just coming into the system and don’t know what must have transpired. What I really know is that the sister was among us and was called out like we were called out and was equally dismissed.”
He equally confirmed the allegation that some female cadets were asked to strip for a body search, a matter which has led the affected persons to petition the National Assembly and the Human Rights Commission through their lawyer, Mr. Clarence Yakubu.
While appealing to President Mohammadu Buhari, the Senate President Bukola Saraki, the Speaker, Hon Dogara and Nigerians, the affected officers asked to be reinstated even as the final examinations commences tomorrow at the SSA Lagos.
“Our appeal to Mr President as the father of the nation is to reverse this termination of appointment. The level of unemployment in the country is heavy and with what they have done, it may cause some chaos we don’t need in this country. The 57 cadets dismissed are many” the cadet said, adding that nothing was stated as their offence.