I felt really constrained to write this piece after reading a report of an article written by J.S Okutepa (SAN) in which the senior lawyer alleged that the State Security Service (SSS) is overstepping its boundaries and usurping Police and anti-corruption powers. The constraints was borne out of the legal weight of the personality involved. However, a tinge of common sense compelled me to make this submission on the issue thrown up by the 'learned' legal giant.
As soon as I read the piece, a series of questions streamed into my head begging for answers. From the answers I got, it became obvious to me that it is commonsensical that, even as a civilian, one should curtail the freedom of a criminal especially when caught in the act. One will not leave a person who is seen to be committing a crime and rush to the Police station to report. If the criminal is not operating with a lethal weapon such as gun, it is expected that the criminal should be arrested and handed over to the appropriate government agency. Bearing this in mind, it suffices to state that everyone can effect an arrest and curtail the freedom of a suspect.
From my little knowledge of the statutory responsibility of the SSS, the Agency is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the internal security security of the country. This issue of internal security of a nation cannot preclude criminal offences of which no serious security agency should look away. The SSS cannot be said not to have the power to arrest and prosecute a criminal. The writer of the article that brought up this discussion should know that the military, Police and other security agencies also procure intelligence. They do this to speed up critical operations.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigeria Police has the Criminal Intelligence Bureau (CIB), a unit that procures intelligence for operational purpose. In a way, the roles of the security agencies are, sometimes, intertwined for the purpose of ensuring internal security of the country. What I have realized is that some public commentators allow their emotions to becloud their sense of objectivity. When this happens, judgement becomes skewed and dangerous for public consumption. Aside this, it is highly necessary to seek adequate and informed knowledge of matters arising in the public domain before taking position.
I will sum this up with a Yoruba saying that, it doesn't matter who kills the snake, whether a man or a woman. The most important thing is for the snake to be killed. Who cares about who brought a criminal before the court of law for the dispensation of justice.
By: Kunle Thompson
The views and opinions expressed in this article does not reflect the position of vigil360news.