Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Timi Frank, has said the Directorate of State Security Service (DSS) has metamorphosed into an intelligence arm of the ruling party and urgently needs a total overhaul.
Frank, however said the DSS needs to wake up and restore the lost confidence Nigerians have in its leadership.
In a statement released to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, on the recent activities of the DSS, the political activist accused the organisation of monitoring and then leaking telephone conversations of some political leaders (Especially in opposition) in order to embarrass them and to impress the APC elements.
Frank, who is the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), Ambassador to East Africa and Middle East, said the DSS has the right to intercept unlawful communication but not to leak private conversations that are not favourable to the ruling party.
According to Frank, the main responsibilities of the DSS as stated in its enabling Act include counter-intelligence, internal security, counter-terrorism, and surveillance as well as investigating some other types of serious crimes against the state.
“The Department of State Services or the State Security Service needs a complete and total overhaul. The agency which was established by Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, was supposed to be patterned after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the United States of America or the MI5 Security Service in the United Kingdom.
“It is also charged with the protection of senior government officials, particularly the President, Vice President, state governors and visiting heads of states and governments with their respective families.
“But the DSS has since deviated from its core mandate in the last 10 years by becoming a willing tool to the government in power. In recent times, the DSS has focused more on regime protection and fostering the interest of politicians in the ruling party and their allies. The DSS and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have become one and the same and it is almost difficult to differentiate a statement written by the DSS and the APC.
“How do we explain away the fact that the DSS has continued to tap the telephone lines and release phone recordings of opposition politicians and influential Nigerians critical of the government?
“The latest misadventure was a leaked telephone conversation between Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and revered cleric, Bishop David Oyedepo, the founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide, and presiding Bishop of the Faith Tabernacle in Ota, Ogun State.
“On the eve of the Presidential election, Obi and Bishop Oyedepo had a private telephone conversation. There was no terror plot and the conversation in itself was not about the use of violence. Obi simply asked Bishop Oyedepo to help him convince his congregation in the southwest to vote for him.
“Similarly, a day after the Presidential election, former President Olusegun Obasanjo received a call from Musician Charles Oputa, professionally known as Charly Boy. In the conversation, Charly Boy asked Obasanjo what could be done to stop the stealing of the people’s mandate. Obasanjo suggested that they could protest. The right to peaceful protest is guaranteed by the constitution.
“Private discussions are what they are: private. Section 37 of the 1999 Constitution expressly states: ‘The privacy of citizens, their homes, correspondence, telephone conversations and telegraphic communications is hereby guaranteed and protected.”
“It is worrisome when the most sophisticated security agency in the country descends into the arena of politics in order to favour the ruling party.
“How do we explain it that the immediate past DG of the DSS, Musa Lawal Daura, was a member of the APC and his successor, Yusuf Bichi, also has obvious ties with the ruling party? His son, Abba, is a member of the APC who openly supports Bola Tinubu on social media.
“His wife, Aisha, got the current Kano Governor-elect, Abba Yusuf, arrested last year following a confrontation between them at the VIP lounge gate of the Aminu Kano International Airport. Yes, Abba is a citizen who is free to support any candidate of his choice. But he is not an ordinary son, he is the son of the DG of the boss of the DSS whose actions or inactions would have huge ramifications for the country.