President Muhammadu Buhari has removed Mathew Seiyefa as acting Director General (DG) of the Department of State Services (DSS). The President has replaced Seiyefa with Yusuf Magachi Bichi as new DG of the secret service. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement yesterday said the appointment is with effect from September 14. Following the sack of Lawal Daura as Chief Executive of the DSS, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo appointed Seiyefa in acting capacity on August 7, 2018. Daura was sacked for approving the illegal invasion of the National Assembly complex by personnel of the DSS. Garba, in the statement announcing the new appointment, said Bichi is a core Secret Service operative. According to him, the new appointee attended Danbatta Secondary School, the Kano State College of Advanced Studies and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he graduated with a degree in Political Science.
“The new Director- General began his career in the security division of the Cabinet Office in Kano, from where he joined the defunct Nigerian Security Organization (NSO), the precursor of the present DSS. “Mr. Bichi has undergone training in intelligence processing analysis, agent handling recruitment and intelligence processing in the UK, as well as strategic training at the National Defence College. “The new DSS boss comes to the job with skills in intelligence gathering, research analysis, conflict management, general investigation, risk and vulnerability operations, counter intelligence and protective operation and human resources management. “In the course of his career, Mr. Bichi has worked as the State Director of Security in Jigawa, Niger, Sokoto and Abia states,” Garba noted. The presidential spokesman explained that “Bichi was at various times the Director, National Assembly Liaison (National War College), Director at National Headquarters in the Directorate of Security Enforcement, Directorate of Operations, Directorate of Intelligence, Directorate of Inspection and Directorate of Administration and Finance.
“He also served as Director at State Service Academy.” Shortly after his appointment as Acting DG, Seiyefa left no one in doubt, that the secret service will witness a new dawn. At his maiden press briefing held at the Services’ headquarters, Seiyefa had pledged to rebuild public confidence, which the DSS had lost to perceived arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and the like. Few days after his commitment, Seiyefa had appointed a substantive spokesperson for the secret police, about three years after.
He had also undertaken a guide reorganisation of the service, by way of appointing new State Directors for Kano, Cross Rivers and a few other states A few other appointments were said to have been made at the Services’ headquarters (Yellow House), in fulfilment of his restructuring agenda. However, the development was said to have drawn the ire of some unnamed Presidency sources, who were said to have ordered a reversal of some of the undertakings. Seiyefa had spent 34 years in the Service. Since his appointment, Seiyefa had initiated a gradual reorganisation of the DSS, with a view to correcting some perceived anomaly within the system, as well as restore personnel and public confidence. In the face of reports of pressure from ‘above’, the Service had issued a statement, where it said as an intelligence agency operating in a democratic space, it will not fail to carry out legitimate directives. While not denying reports of likely pressure, the DSS, nonetheless, said the speculations about its internal affairs, “unhealthy”.
The Service, in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Peter Afunanya, had said: “The attention of the DSS has been drawn to several speculations making the rounds in the media on some internal affairs of the Service. “These speculations, to say the least, are unhealthy for the Service and indeed, Nigeria. The DSS has undoubtedly remained a committed Service with focus on the stability and security of the nation….”