By Ben Agande
ABUJA— A gale of resignation has hit the Department of State Services, DSS, in recent times, forcing the management of the service to temporarily place a moratorium on further voluntary resignation from personnel of the service.
Investigations by Vanguard at the headquarters of the Nigerian secret police indicated that in the last 10 months, no fewer than 70 middle cadre and junior cadre officers had resigned from the service, both from the state commands and the national headquarters.
While some of the officers resigned because they got better offers of employment from, especially embassies of western nations, others resigned because of unfavourable terms of employment they alleged had pervaded the service since the take over of the present Director General of the agency, Mallam Lawal Musa Daura.
One of the staff who resigned two weeks ago, told Vanguard: “The condition of service is no longer favourable. Some allowances that we were entitled to were stopped, while others were cut in half without explanation.
“Most importantly, operation allowances that we used to enjoy were stopped without any reason. And we were still expected to put in our best. If I cannot be treated well while in service, how will my family be treated well when I am dead? It’s unfortunate that I had to leave after so much has been invested in me by this country.’’
Another personnel who said he would also leave in the next few months, told Vanguard that the condition of service was no longer palatable.
“During the last dispensation, the service personnel were well motivated to do their job. We embark on dangerous covert assignments to keep the nation safe and all that we get in return is insults and suspicion from the leadership of the service. Fortunately, most of us are well trained so our services are needed by those countries that helped in training us. We cannot be jobless. If you get a better offer, it’s only natural to move” he said.
Another complain given by those who left is that “there appears to be no future in remaining. When I joined the service, it was like one family. There was no regional or ethnic segmentation. What we have seen so far is perception of actions or inactions from the prism of where one comes from. We were told during training that your competence will make or mar you. That promise has been compromised. It’s no longer interesting” she said.
Vanguard gathered that at the last count, five of those personnel who left were absorbed by the American Embassy, ten by several banks and other financial institutions as head of security, while about four have joined oil companies.
Worried by the steady resignation, the management of the service issued a circular through departmental heads and state Directors directing that voluntary resignation by service personnel should no longer be accepted until further notice.
No member of the service was ready to speak on record and the service has no official spokesman since the last one, Marylyn Ogar left service.
However, a senior official of the service who spoke with vanguard in confidence claimed that the last dispensation exposed its personnel to unnecessary wealth “which is capable of compromising operational duties”
“There is no way the present leadership would have continued with the shenanigans that was perpetrated in the last dispensation. Apparently the leadership wants to return the service to its founding vision which is selfless service to the nation. It’s obvious that those who cannot fit in would naturally leave” he said.
It will be recalled that DSS 65 cadet officers of the service who were undergoing training at the State Services Academy, SSA, in Lagos, including a sibling of the sacked former spokes person of the service, Marilyn Ogar were asked to leave in September last year, few weeks to their passing out.
No reason was given for their dismissal which was contained in a letter by the Director General of the Department of State Service, Lawal Daura.
A senior officer of the service who is familiar with the matter told Vanguard then that their sack was “inevitable” because their recruitment process was “flawed.”
He explained that “What happened was that recruitment of most of these cadets did not follow due process. They were brought into the service by politicians without meeting the stringent requirements set by the service in recruiting its personnel. They were dumped on the service by politicians through the active connivance of the past leadership of the service. We are re-organising the service so we cannot afford to have partisan political moles in our midst” the source said.
The source who is a senior operative of the service said the process of “weeding undesirable elements” who found their way into the service was ongoing. The present leadership of the service is determined to reposition the service to its professional roles. There is nothing personal about the decision of the service. It was a very painful decision in view of the investment made on them but it was a decision that must be taken” he had said.