Nigeria’s secret police, the Department of State Service (DSS) has asked Nigerians to disregard reasons adduced by its former official, Dennis Amachree, for its alleged failure to reveal alleged link of Malam Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy to terrorism before his confirmation as minister.
Amaechree, a former Assistant Director of DSS had in an online interview on Wednesday said the secret police was aware of alleged link of Pantami to terrorism before his confirmation for appointment as minister by the senate.
But he said the DSS decided not to make the reasons public, thus enabling Pantami to sail through senate screening due to a lot of factors including federal character balancing.
Amachree said the DSS is always involved in checking the background of anybody to be appointed as a minister or commissioner.
“They check your background up to the extent of your grandmother. They check your schools up to the extent of your primary school.
”And of course, they keep a tab on you online and offline. We get a lot from open-source intelligence and I can tell you that in Pantami’s case, we have it. But there is a political angle to it.
”When somebody is being appointed, if the security agencies see that there is something wrong with his name, they will send it to the appointing agency. The appointing agency will now decide amongst other variables either religious variable, federal character balancing variable, or political variable and say that, ‘Oh, yes, we know that this guy has this and that but let’s appoint him.
”So, the political decision is not taken by the DSS. Even when you go to the Senate for confirmation, there is party by party and you can see that there are some political candidates that the opposition party will say that this one will not be appointed but because he belongs to that party, they will appoint him.
”So, these are political and federal balancing where they will say that there is nobody from this place that has been appointed, so let’s appoint him.”
But Daily Trust quoted the spokesperson for DSS, Peter Afunaya, as saying in a statement that Amachree’s views were personal positions.
He urged Nigerians not to attach much weight to the claim Amachree, as according to him, it did not in any way represent the stand of the DSS.
”Opinions expressed by Mr Dennis Amachree on sundry national security issues are his personal positions and do not in anyway represent the stand of the Service (the Department of State Services),” the DSS spokesman said.