TEENAGE GIRL ARRAIGNED FOR ALLEGEDLY CIRCULATING NUDE VIDEO OF BAYELSA’S EX-PERM SEC: WHY SSS SHOULD HANDS OFF THE CASE

The SSS

The State Security Service (SSS), also known as Department of State Services (DSS), is created by law – National Security Agencies Act 1986 (“NSA Act”). The NSA Act created two other agencies in addition to the SSS for the chief purpose of National security. These are the Defence Intelligence Agency; and the National Intelligence Agency. For the records, what the NSA Act created is SSS. “DSS” emanated from the SSS for yet to be identified reasons.

Functions of SSS

Section 2(3) of the NSA Act provides that:

The State Security Service shall be charged with responsibility for –

(a) the prevention and detection within Nigeria of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;

(b) the protection and preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning
the internal security of Nigeria; and

(c) such other responsibilities affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.

By the provisions of Instrument SSS No.1 of 1999 made pursuant to Section 6 of the NSA Act, the functions of the SSS were stated to include but not limited to the following:

a. Prevention and Detection of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria;

b. Protection and Preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria;

c. Prevention, Detection and Investigation of threats of Espionage, Subversion, Sabotage, Terrorism, Separatist agitations, Inter-group conflicts, Economic crimes of National security dimension and threats to law and order;

d. Provision of protective security for designated principal Government functionaries, sensitive installations and visiting dignitaries;

e. Provision of timely advice to Government on all matters of National security interest and

f. Such other functions as may, from time to time, be assigned to it.

(It’s doubtful whether the Instrument No. 1 is in public domain. The above provisions of Instrument No. 1 were retrieved from the SSS website)

The issue

It naturally boggles the mind how the alleged release of the nude video of a former Permanent Secretary in Bayelsa by a teenager is a case of National security.

No matter the strength of one’s argument, the draftmen of the NSA Act will likely be in shock to see that the SSS (or DSS) is dissipating much energy prosecuting a teenager who allegedly circulated the nude video she might have obtained while the alleged victim was in a compromising situation.

Of course, the Cybercrimes Act 2015 contains provisions in Section 24 to punish cyberstalking. Thus, the issue is not whether the teenager deserves to be prosecuted. Rather, the issue is whether the SSS should preoccupy itself with such matters.

From the reports, the SSS has arraigned the teenager before the Federal High Court, Yenegoa. She pleaded not guilty to the charge and the SSS has hinted it intends to oppose the bail application filed on her behalf.

The SSS intends to oppose the bail application of a teenager for an offence which is bailable. At least there is no law that forbids granting her bail especially where her alleged offence isn’t a capital offence. The courts usually grant bail applications in majority of the cases subject to certain conditions.

Whether or not the teenager would be found guilty of the charge, it remains debatable whether the alleged unauthorized sharing of the nude video of a former Permanent Secretary has anything to do with Nigeria’s National security (which is increasingly becoming a permanent problem) in order to command the attention of the SSS. How can this be when bandits, terrorists and kidnappers are circulating Nigeria’s “nudity” everywhere in terms of internal insecurity?

Conclusion

The nude video of the former Permanent Secretary may be a classified material for his personal purpose but definitely not of a National security dimension. If there’s anything “national” about the alleged nude video of the former Permanent Secretary, it will probably be the “risk” of “national entertainment” if the video goes viral. Other law enforcement agents may conveniently tackle this. After all, there is nothing in the NSA Act which empowers the SSS to prosecute any person.



Stephen Azubuike
Author: Stephen Azubuike
Stephen is a lawyer with expertise in Commercial Dispute Resolution and Technology Law practice. He is a Partner at Infusion Lawyers. He has successfully argued cases from the High Courts of various jurisdictions to the Appellate Courts on behalf of financial institutions, other corporate bodies and multinationals. He has worked with a number of startup tech companies. He tweets @siazubuike.
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