Modern day Nigeria is in trouble. This self declared giant of Africa is falling deeper and deeper into an abysmal crises. The crises of kidnappersâ€™ brigandry. Day by day, there are horrifying tales of vicious bandits, armed like dare devil, kidnapping hardworking and innocent people for ransom. The amount of money which these criminals demand is nothing close to child play. Kidnapers no doubt, have chocked the Nigeria nation by the jugular. And unless something is done quickly, they are going to eventually snuff life out of a nation already in a state of coma.
But in the midst of all these, one cannot but muse aloud: what is the job of the Nigerian State Security Service? Can they keep Nigeria safe? Is the agency corrupt free? Does SSS has the required intelligence to protect the ordinary citizens? Are they able to infiltrate any group that threatens national security? Were they sufficiently trained to face the sort of problems that is surfacing in modern day Nigeria? These critical questions have bugged my mind in the most recent times especially as the Nigerian masses are subjected to pathological fear of the kidnappers.
The government does not want to publicly use the term â€˜domestic terrorismâ€™ to describe this national fever but that is the reality on the ground. Any nation whose intelligence agency cannot penetrate domestic terrorism, undoubtedly, faces an apparent doom. Defenseless Nigerian citizens expect the SSS to infiltrate the kidnappers underworld activities in order to eradicate the bone-chilling menace they have brought upon the entire country.
We all know that SSS is a body that Ibrahim Babangida, the former Nigerian Head of States and dictator, reconstituted, presumably with the brightest minds in the country for the purpose of gathering and analyzing, reasonably, intelligence for the sake of national security. I have no doubt in my mind that as a dictator, men of the SSS were first used by IBB as a private secret policing forces. Ever since the reconstitution in 1986, the agency has been very famous, though negatively, in serving the interest of the various political incumbencies. Thus, incumbent governments in the past have used the agency for political repression. Historically, SSS from its onset is known for the arrest, detention, harassment and intimidation of journalists, political opponents and political activists. Professor Wole Soyinka, in his book, You Must Set Forth At Dawn illustratively wrote on how these somewhat illusive government agents were often sent to repress any imagined or real political opposition all through the country.
Today Nigerian claims democracy. But my questions still remains: is it possible that an intelligence agency reputed as described above can be said to have the interest of the Nigeria people at heart. Or does it just exist as an oppressive puppet in the hand of political incumbencies? One wonders. At this time in the history of the country, the SSS need to stand true to its true objective. That is, providing counter-force and intelligent against domestic threats to national security. They need to save Nigeria from this impending state of kidnapper nationwide lawlessness.