*Declares he’ll not accept abuse of citizens’ rights
*Vows not to promote individual rights above national interest
*Promises to make national security his priority
*As EFCC arrests ex-DG, Ita Ekpenyong
*Seizes Lawal Daura’s passport
Amidst condemnation of the activities of the Department of State Services, DSS, under the leadership of recently sacked Lawal Daura especially in the areas of human rights abuses and non adherent to rule of law, the newly appointed DG of the service, Matthew Seiyefa has declared that he would, under no circumstance tolerate abuse of citizens’ rights by his men.
Speaking during his maiden interaction with journalists in Abuja yesterday, Seiyefa said the service would remain focused and professional in protecting national interest and security and vowed that he would resist any attempt to be intimidated or cowed in the process of carrying out his legitimate duties.
Mr. Seiyefa who was appointed by the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo after the sack of former DG, Lawal Daura for unauthorised deployment of operatives of the service to lay siege to the National Assembly complex said that already, the service is reviewing all cases of alleged unlawful detentions and human right abuses by officers and men of the service.
“We are reviewing all issues that have brought about unhealthy perceptions about the service in recent times including detentions and perceived human rights abuses.
“We will respect the rights of groups or individuals as long as they are legitimate. We will work on the basis of our core roles and mandate which are the detection and prevention of threats against the internal security of Nigeria.
“We will not tolerate the abuse of freedom of Nigerians and we will not be intimidated or cowed as we shall jealously guard and protect our mandate,” he said.
Speaking further, the new spymaster said that the service would work to promote and protect national interests and not individual or sectional agenda stressing that the service would do its best to diffuse the perception about it because according to him, the service was critical to the security architecture of the country.
According to him, the service would also redouble its efforts to improve on intelligence gathering and analysis to guide policy formulation and security management and promised to partner with other security agencies and relevant stakeholders in the country to provide security to the citizenry.
The acting Director General further promised that the service would discharge its mandate within the tenets of rule of law as obtained globally but on the continued detention of rtd Col. Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser; he said it was early to make any definite decision as he was still studying cases before him.
He however said that the service would collaborate with the media to project its activities adding that the appointment of a spokesperson for the service was under “active consideration”.
“The issue of having a spokesperson to respond to media inquiries is under active consideration,” he explained.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that the DSS under Lawal Daura administration refused to appoint a spokesperson amid several call by Nigerians especially journalist who complained of not having an anchor contact person for information clearance and verification.
In a related development, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arrested former Director General of the Department of State Services, Ita Ekpenyong.
Our correspondent who witnessed the arrest at 46 Maman Nasir Street, Asokoro, Abuja, reported that the EFCC operatives came in three buses and some patrol vehicles accompanied by over 20 armed policemen.
The operatives then searched the mansion for over two hours before leaving at 3.20pm.
The raid occurred barely 10 months after the DSS under the leadership of the sacked DG, Lawal Daura, prevented EFCC operatives from searching or arresting Ekpenyong despite a court order.
A highly placed EFCC Source told Nigerian Pilot that the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo ordered the raid following a meeting with the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu and the new DSS boss, Matthew Seyifa on Wednesday.
The arrest, according to EFCC source, is in connection with funds said to have been released to the DSS and NIA last year under the previous administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan for the conduct of the 2015 election.
The money, the source said, was not fully utilised and it is being suspected that Ekpenyong left behind a huge amount of cash that cannot be accounted for.
Already, the Presidency has ordered proper investigation into how the huge cash said to have been released to security agencies in the country in relation to the 2015 Presidential election was managed.
As a result, three former security heads, who held strategic positions in the country are to be quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to determine their involvement or otherwise in management of the cash.
Among those slated for unrestricted probe are the immediate past Director General of DSS, Lawal Daura his predecessor, Ita Ekpenyong and the former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, Ayo Oke.
The order to subject the former security heads to scrutiny followed two days of extensive meeting between Nigeria’s acting President, Yemi Osinbajo and the acting DSS DG, Matthew Seiyefa and that of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the search of Ekpenyong’s home to Nigerian Pilot.
Uwujaren said, “Our men went there to do the work that they were prevented from doing about ten months ago,” but did not give further details of the raid and the arrest and detention of the former Director General of the DSS.”
Meanwhile, the international passport of the sacked DSS DG, Lawal Daura has been seized by security officials as investigations continue into his role in the siege at the National Assembly complex on Tuesday.
Embattled Daura was removed on the orders of the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, over the siege of the legislative chambers by armed DSS operatives on Tuesday, a security action which sparked nationwide condemnation.
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