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FLASH | Google Classifies DSS Headquarters as a ‘Prison’

A Google map search by SIGNAL on the headquarters of Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) has revealed its classification as a ‘Prison’ in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory as can be seen in separate mobile and desktop computer images above and below.

The SSS which is often self-styled by the agency as the Department of State Services (DSS) functions as Nigeria’s secret police under the supervision of the National Security Adviser.

The SSS which was formed on 5th June 1986 has a mission to protect and defend the Federal Republic of Nigeria against domestic threats, uphold and enforce the criminal laws of Nigeria, and provide leadership and criminal justice services to both federal and state law-enforcement organs. The SSS is also charged with the protection of the President, Vice President, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, State Governors, their immediate families, other high ranking government officials, past presidents and their spouses, certain candidates for the offices of President and Vice President, and visiting foreign heads of state and government.

The agency has recently become notorious for the persecution, manhunt, arrest and detention of critics and perceived enemies of the Muhammadu Buhari regime, with the most recent case being Omoyele Sowore the publisher of Nigeria’s pioneer citizen journalism news website SaharaReporters. Sowore was arrested by the DSS on August 3rd and has been detained in their high-security detention facility since then despite a court ruling ordering his release. Sowore is now being charged with treasonable felony, money laundering and insulting President Buhari.

Other prominent Nigerians currently being detained by the DSS include Sambo Dasuki, a retired Nigerian Army Colonel and former National Security Adviser to the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, a prominent Shi’a Muslim leader and head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). The DSS has violated several court rulings ordering their release.

Nigerian government critic Abubakar Idris, popularly known as Dadiyata, who was abducted from his home in Kaduna State on August 1st is also widely believed to be in the custody of the DSS despite denials from the agency.

Dadiyata’s disappearance mirrors the DSS’ abduction of journalist Jones Abiri in Bayelsa State on July 21st, 2016. Abiri was detained for two years by the DSS without charge and without access to his lawyers.

It is not clear why Google has classified the headquarters of the DSS as a ‘prison’ but it may not be unconnected with the agency’s increasing reputation over the years for arbitrary arrests and detentions. SIGNAL could not reach DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya for comments at the time of this report. However, a few hours after this report was published, Google has now updated the designation of the DSS headquarters from ‘Prison’ to ‘Government Office’.




Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng

Copyright 2019 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to and other relevant source.

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