Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS) yesterday debunked allegations that an official of the agency breached the protocols and assaulted staff of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Reacting to FAAN’s allegations that its staff was assaulted by the DSS Head of Formation at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Mr. Safiyanu Abba, the security agency said there was neither an assault nor breach of protocol as claimed by FAAN.
FAAN had, in a statement issued yesterday, alleged that Abba deliberately obstructed airport security process, and slapped an aviation security officer, who was performing his duty by calling on Abba to desist from doing so.
FAAN said the DSS boss had prevented security officers at the airport from performing a mandatory check on a passenger on Friday.
The statement read, “We note with dismay that Mr. Safiyanu Abba, the Head of DSS at NAIA deliberately obstructed airport security process, and slapped an Aviation Security Officer who was performing his duty by calling on Mr. Safiyanu Abba to desist from doing so.
“This happened on July 17, at about 15:25 hours. He breached security procedure by obstructing further search of a visitor who had just walked through the metal detector and activated the alarm.
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria strongly condemns this abuse of power and the security process in our airport. This has also been duly escalated. FAAN is committed to the core values of safety, security, and comfort.
But in a swift reaction, the DSS in a statement issued yesterday by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Peter Afunanya, said that no such incident took place.
“The attention of the Department of State Services has been drawn to the official release by FAAN that its staff was assaulted by the DSS Head of Formation at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“FAAN also accused him of breaching security protocol at the Airport. So far, it has not been established that any FAAN staff was assaulted. DSS personnel are well mannered and could not have slapped or fought a worker of another agency,” it said.
The agency maintained that “the news, as reported by sections of the media, has left an impression that is not factual and should therefore be disregarded.
“For the record, no DSS staff fought or engaged in any acts prejudicial to discipline or inimical to public safety at the Airport under reference”.
Afunanya affirmed that “in line with its statutory duties, the service recognises the airports as one of the country’s most important assets and has remained at the forefront of protecting them and other critical ones. It takes their security seriously and cannot breach it.
“As a strategic partner, the service holds FAAN and its staff in good esteem. Both agencies have, over time, enjoyed robust working relationship in the areas of training and exchange programmes. For these reasons, the DSS will not join issues with it”.
Afunanya said there were other avenues than the social media to resolve any misunderstanding among staff of two agencies that have had long history of unity of purpose in the execution of their mandates.
The statement further noted that “the service and the DGSS place a premium on effective interagency collaboration needed to achieve positive outcomes for good of the nation and citizens.
“The travelling public is urged to go about their normal businesses as the service, in conjunction with relevant authorities including FAAN, is committed to their safety”.