That DSS Invasion Of FGGC, Calabar


There is cause for worry in Nigeria if the alleged invasion of the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Calabar by the operatives of the Directorate of State Services (DSS), penultimate Thursday, is anything to go by. The invasion and the assault that followed it is to say the least, absurd and barbaric. It is another act of impunity every right-thinking Nigerian must condemn. Already, the teachers of the college had, last Monday, taken to the streets to protest the invasion and demand justice over the brutalisation of their colleagues by DSS officials.
Penultinate week, the media was awash with the story of how an operative of the Secret Police, identified as Grace Loveth Asuquo, had driven to the school with a team of gun-wielding DSS officials to beat up some teachers over the flogging of her daughter by a Civic Education teacher, Mr. Owai Owai. Owai had reportedly flogged 10 pupils of the Senior Secondary School 3 (SSS3) two strokes of cane each for flouting his order not to force Junior Secondary School students to sweep their (SSS3) class.
One of the SSS3 students, was dissatisfied with the punishment,  and allegedly grabbed the collar of the teacher’s shirt, thus, prompting the teacher to flog her more. Following this, the insolent student was said to have called her mother, Mrs Asuquo, a DSS official, on the telephone and reported the incident to her.
Mrs Asuquo reportedly raced to the school and invited her colleagues who stormed the college premises in three vans, shooting indiscriminately. They allegedly flogged Owai and other teachers who attempted to intervene.
Over six teachers, according to reports, were attacked for trying to take pictures of the incident. Some reportedly had their valuables such as phones, binoculars, handbags and money seized by the DSS officials.
This manner of armed assault on armless civilians by those paid to protect the citizenry is barbaric and mind-boggling. The Tide considers the invasion of the college by DSS operatives over a mere disciplinary measure meted out to an insolent student as strange. In particular, the maltreatment of teachers by the DSS marauders in the presence of their students is barbaric, shameful, embarrassing and negates decency and civilized conduct. As moulders of character and agents of development, teachers deserve to be treated with dignity.
The earlier denial by the Cross River State Director of DSS, Mr. Fubara Duke who absolved his men of the brigandage is also shameful going by the latest report that five DSS personnel have been arrested and detained in connection with the alleged brutality.
While the nation awaits the outcome of the DSS investigation into the alleged invasion on the college, we want to urge the security service to re-orientate its personnel towards their real mandate which is primarily anchored on investigation of criminal acts.
We say this because of the recklessness often exhibited by men of the DSS in recent times, ‘especially their involvement in some civil matters which ordinarily are strictly out of DSS constitutional mandate. Last year’s invasion of some judges’ homes in the dead of the night and the recent foiled attempt to arrest a clergyman, Apostle Johnson Suleiman by the DSS men in Ekiti State, are two of many instances of DSS’ excesses that constitute serious national embarrassment to the nation.
These incidents and the latest one at FGGC, Calabar, are totally unacceptable. They gave Nigeria out as a nation that thrives on impunity, as well as reminding us of the Gestapo days of the military regime when barbarism and anarchy reigned supreme in the land.
The Tide considers it an aberration for DSS personnel to gate-crash into strictly civil matters which the conventional police and Nigeria Security and Civil Devence Corps should have handled. The invasion of a secondary school over a mundane issue as flogging a disobedient student is not, and should not be part of the mandate of DSS.
We, therefore, join the FGGC teachers to demand for a thorough probe of the school’s  invasion. All officers found culpable in the sad episode, irrespective of their ranks, should not be spared necessary disciplinary sanctions. Only this can assuage the feelings of Nigerian teachers as well as restore the confidence of the citizenry in the ability of the government of the day to protect its citizens.