The Deputy Director, Public Relations, Department of State Service (DSS), Marilyn Ogar, says the job of the DSS is to detect and prevent any threat to the internal security of Nigeria and should not be dragged into the intrigues of rivalry by politicians.
She made this statement while appearing on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, to discuss the series of controversies that have trailed the governorship election in Osun State.
There had been allegations that the DSS operatives on duty during the Osun election showed some excesses in the discharge of their duties, an allegation she was bent on debunking. According to her, while she could understand a political party being bad losers, the Osun matter only meant that bad winners also existed.
She stated that the DSS had not done anything unusual in Osun State, explaining that as a fall-out of the Ekiti election, security reports had revealed that political parties, particularly the PDP and the APC had vowed to outdo each other in the Osun State election and based on security reports, the security agencies “had to deploy adequately to be able to forestall any threat or anything that will pose contrary to free and fair election in Osun State.”
She recalled that the DSS had provided similar security in Edo, Ondo, Anambra, and Ekiti states, but there were only issues in states where the APC lost – Anambra, Ondo and Ekiti states. She, however, wondered why there were still issues in Osun State despite the APC having won the election.
Reacting to a Channels Television interview with the APC Spokesman, Lai Mohammed, which threw up a number of issues, including allegations that the DSS was working against the APC, Ms Ogar presented and read a letter supposedly written by the Governor of the State of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola, addressed to the Director-General of the Department of State Service, requesting for security in the state ahead of the election.
Ms Ogar said, “With or without this letter, it is our statutory responsibility to participate or provide security for all elections in Nigeria.” She added that apart from their own security reports which necessitated the deployment of men, they were backed by their primary responsibility.
Lai Mohammed had also alleged that the men of the SSS drove into Osogbo, the state capital, in 50 trucks conveying masked personnel, who were shooting into the air to scare citizens of the state.
She explained that the so-called masks were the regular hoods worn by the SSS operatives who go on special operation. Likening them to the SWAT of the American FBI, she said that the DSS also has the STAT and wearing of the hood was supposed to prevent eye contact and recognition that could cause compromise in the discharge of their duties, noting that these were men who also carry out other regular assignments.
Ms Ogar explained further that the trucks mentioned by Mr Lai Mohammed had four men each and with a target of deploying two trucks to each of the 30 Local Government Areas in Osun State, it was rational to have such number of men if the state was to be adequately covered.
She also alleged that there had been security reports that the APC had vowed to ensure that the PDP did not win the election in Osun State. The DSS, according to her, had profiled all the thugs in the state and they were arrested with short guns, charms and other weapons, indicating that there were indeed plans to hijack the process, adding that this was not from just one particular party.
On the allegations that the DSS men shot into the air while driving into the state capital, Ms Ogar said that the allegation might not be true as it could be an attempt by the APC Spokesman to drive home a point.
Asked if the DSS partakes in Show of Force, she affirmed that indeed, the era of insurgency in the country and the Service’s fight against terrorism had necessitated the show of force by the DSS when required.
Alleged 14million Naira Offer
It has been reported that the DSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, had alleged that a political party offered the Security Service a bribe, leading to the Osun election, and she was asked to name the persons involved, so that they could be prosecuted.
She said that prior to the election, an APC member had invited the DSS Director, who was coordinating the election “to come collect 4million Naira for self and another 10million for the same masked people.
“It was an offer and she said no that she didn’t think it was necessary because when it has to do with logistics, as far as the Service is concerned, they would definitely have en-placed everything that would make for a successful operation.
“The rejection of that money on Tuesday brought on a lot of things that ordinarily we had not seen before anywhere.”
On the demand for the identity and prosecution of the persons involved, she said, “The duty of the SSS is to detect, prevent and deter” and using the President’s carrot and stick analogy, “It is not every time that you go out arresting people.”
She said further, “If this same process has been turned down when it had to do with other political parties, and they never took offense, why is it that the APC is taking offense? For me, its like pre-empting and presuming that ‘maybe this people are going to go to town with this stuff so we must be able to cow them to a point where they would be unable to expose what we were trying to do’.
“The person that made the offer knows himself and he knows that we know him.” She insisted that security agencies should not be dragged into politics.
She also clarified the issue surrounding the 14million Naira offer and being referred to as “bribe”.
“I’m sure the people that were doing the offering didn’t see it as a bribe, and I had never mentioned the word bribe. The media has used the word bribe in order to make it sensational.
“I could make you an offer and say this would assist you in what you are doing. Its either you take it or you refuse.
“I did say here that they offered us money to assist us and we said no.”
She added that if indeed the DSS was not accommodating to all parties involved in the election, “the Executive Governor of Osun State wouldn’t have written inviting us to come.”