There is disquiet in the department of State Security Service (SSS) following mass dismissal and retirement of personnel perceived to be partisan, corrupt or on collision course with the present leadership of the service.
In a sweeping retrenchment Tuesday, the SSS sacked dozens of personnel including the former spokesperson of the service, Marilyn Ogar, and the former Chief Security Officers (CSOs) to President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Goodluck Jonathan, Abdulrahman Mani and Gordon Obua respectively.
Other prominent personnel affected by the mass lay-off are Liman Widi, Yomi Zamba, Little John Okojie, Ahmed Abdullahi, Ibrahim Katsina, Larry Obiagwu, Abdulganiyu Dauda, Dahiru Dodo, Suleiman Dabo, among others.
A notice for retirement issued to the affected staffers with a title: “Retirement From Service”, read, “Following the on-going re-organisation in the Service, be informed that that your services are no longer required in the Department of State Security Service (DSS). You are therefore, retired from Service under Section 8 Rule 020806(II) of the Public Service Rules, 2006 wef 31st August, 2015″.
The notice, obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, continued: “In view of the foregoing, you are hereby directed to immediately render all Government property under your care, including Service Warrant Card, to your immediate Sectional Head/Director and obtain necessary clearance.”
While expressing the DG’s best wishes to the affected officers, the notification said “You are also to liaise with the Directorate of Administration, Personnel Department and Pension Department to conclude the necessary formalities for disengagement and payments of benefits.”
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that Mr. Obua is one of the staff challenging his dismissal by the service.
Speaking through his lawyer, Andrew Itsekiri, Mr. Obua said he would challenge the decision of the SSS in court, as the service failed to establish anything incriminating against him when he was detained and quizzed over alleged corruption.
Other affected officers who spoke with our reporter also cried foul over the service’s decision, saying their retirement or dismissal were borne out of malice than “on-going re-organisation in the Service”.
One affected officer who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES on the condition of anonymity said he was neither queried nor invited for questioning before his compulsory retirement.
“I have five years to retire. But suddenly I was sent on compulsory retirement without ever being queried or investigated for any wrongdoing,” he said.
Another officer who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES also faulted the service’s decision to sack him without violating either the service code or being invited for questioning over any wrong-doing.
The officer, who also preferred anonymity, argued that there was ulterior motive behind the mass retirement as it was targeted at “some specific staff”.
He accused the new Director General, Lawal Daura, of being on a “revenge mission”, saying Mr. Daura was targeting personnel he bore malice against before his (Daura’s) recall from retirement. “We will challenge this injustice in court,” he vowed.
Security sources said the mass retirement and dismissal were also discriminatory as some officers who committed offices liable for outright dismissal were retired instead.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that one of the affected officers went on Absence Without Leave (AWOL) for weeks with a service pistol, which he did not sign for, but was sent on retirement instead of outright dismissal.
“The offense is liable for dismissal. But because of favouritism, he was retired with full benefits, while others who did not commit any clear offence were dismissed from service. This is sheer injustice,” said the officer.
PREMIUM TIMES could not reach Mr. Daura for comment as he did not respond to calls to his mobile phone number.