The gale of sacks in the Department of State Services (DSS) continued yesterday with 65 cadet officers dismissed from training, among them a lady identified as a sibling of former Director of Information, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar.
The affected cadet officers were undergoing training at the State Services Academy (SSA) in Lagos. They belonged to the Cadet Officers Basic Course 28 of 2014 codenamed COBC28/2014.
The 65 officers had been in the academy since December 2014 for a 10-month training programme, categorized into three distinct sessions.
Saturday Independent gathered that the affected officers were among 420 trainees in the academy and had gone through the three categories of their training before they were flushed out. They were due for commissioning into the service as Senior Intelligence Officers (SIO) on October 26, 2015.
The affected officers had done the basic training in the academy and the three months attachment at the DSS state commands nationwide for practical, including the essential foreign intelligence programme, which took them to various countries where they were exposed to handling of high caliber weapons, detonation of bombs and all sorts of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
It was gathered that some of the trainees returned in August from their foreign intelligence training in Israel, where they undertook special skill and intelligence gathering courses in counter-terrorism and insurgency.
According to our source, nobody in the academy had an inkling of the impending sack until a special squad from the national headquarters in Abuja arrived at about noon and called out the affected officers. They were handed their letters of dismissal and marched to their various quarters to pick their bags and baggage as the squad from Abuja saw that they all left the academy’s premises immediately.
Our reporter stumbled on some of the dismissed officers in Ojo, along Badagry Expressway, Lagos around 3p.m as they were leaving the academy.
Some of the trainees who spoke with Saturday Independent under anonymity said they had no idea why they were sacked. Even the letter of dismissal, sighted by our reporter, gave no reason for the mass sack of the trainees.
The letter dated 4th September, 2015, and signed by GK Mohammed on behalf of the Director-General of the State Services, Lawal Musa Daura, reads as follows:
“I am directed to inform you that the Director General, State Services (DGSS) has approved the termination of your appointment from Service with immediate effect.
“You are, however, required to hand over all Government property in your possession, including your Study Guide/Note Books to the Director of Studies, State Services Academy (SSA), Lagos, and obtain appropriate clearance before your final exit, please.
One of the trainees wondered the wisdom in sacking persons that the service had exposed to all manners of sensitive intelligence operations, including handling of offensive weapons. He said that having gone through the specialized training, government should have sent them to other security agencies in need of skilled manpower.
He made particular reference to the Nigeria Police, considering that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently directed that 10,000 personnel should be recruited to strengthen the force.
Another trainee, who lamented the nine-month stay in the academy, said it was regrettable that all the knowledge and skills acquired in the academy would come to naught after the government had wasted their time.
Meanwhile, the dismissed personnel have said that they would take their cases to the National Assembly.