By Amos Dunia
“My vision is to create a friendly work environment, enhance staff capacity through training and welfare, as well as ensure that the DSS remains a democratically-complaint intelligence agency in Nigeria” – Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
With the commencement of his second four-year tenure beckoning on September 14, 2022, Alhaji Yusuf Magaji Bichi has been roundly described as a man of many parts given his versatility, and outstanding deliveries in many fields of covert actions as well as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
Currently calling the shots as Director General of the State Security Service (SSS), popularly called the Department of State Service (DSS), Bichi sees the overriding goal of intelligence from the perspective of positive impact on governance, particularly in actualising the fundamental objective and principles of government.
The recent solidarity visit by the Forum of Retired Directors (FORD) of the DSS, where the members commended his sterling leadership qualities, did present an opportunity for these accomplished personalities to appreciate Bichi’s core competencies in Conflict management, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment, Human Resource Management, Investigation, and Protective Operations.
Indeed, Bichi’s patriotic zeal and commitment to Nigeria’s unity is aptly captured in one of his numerous nationalistic speeches in which he said; “Since my return to the organisation, I have recommitted myself to selfless service, both to it and the country. For me, an opportunity like this is one that calls for greater responsibility and dedication.”
This alumnus of the prestigious National Defence College (NDC), where he bagged a Fellow of the War College (FWC) in 2007, has brought inventiveness, vision, and humane disposition to his headship of an organisation that was once touted by the public either rightly or wrongly based on perception as “notorious for illegal arrests and detention of citizens, abuse of court orders, deep partisanship and human rights abuses”.
Under his current leadership, the nation’s secret police, against all odds, have received rave reviews, even from ardent critics, for their many successful operations and exploits that are focused on its statutory duty of detecting and preventing crimes as well as evolving counter-measures against threats to Nigeria’s internal security and indivisibility.
Not mincing words in his declaration that “My vision is to create a friendly work environment, enhance staff capacity through training and welfare, as well as ensure that the DSS remains a democratically-complaint intelligence agency in Nigeria”, the Director General believes sustained innovations are required by the Service to continually realise its statutory mandate of ensuring the country’s internal security.
Though having no intention of advertising the achievements and actionable intelligence of the SSS under his watch given the global best practice of “on the need-to-know basis”, it is important to acknowledge the Secret Police’s pivotal role as an intelligence agency that has not shied away from in its statutory responsibilities of implementing strategies with huge success in not only tackling insecurity but also is saving the nation from avoidable disintegration.
Through the Service’s machinery, in partnership with sister security and intelligence agencies, the famous pension thief and fugitive, Mr. Abdulrasheed Maina, was brought in to answer for his crimes; successes are being recorded in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations across the North East region; while serviceable intelligence is daily provided for the anti-corruption agencies as part of numerous covet but successful operations to aid national security and anti-corruption drive.
Also, in synergy with other security agencies, the SSS’ constructive actions before, during, and after the #EndSARS, did a lot to curtail the possible irreparable backlashes of clandestine elements that at some points seized control of the peaceful #EndSARS protests.
Similarly, sustained intelligence and robust enforcement/joint operations with sister agencies have brought about recognisable accomplishments in the battle against internet and advance fee frauds, kidnapping, banditry, arms trafficking, militancy, economic crimes, and others too numerous to mention.
It is therefore not surprising to watchers of events that the impressive performance by the SSS, under his watch, has earned him a tenure extension for another four years.
The man, whose career started in the security division of the Cabinet Office in Kano from where he moved on to the defunct Nigerian Security Organization (NSO) before it metamorphosed into the SSS, was first appointed in September 2018 when the former Acting Director General, Matthew Seiyefa retired from the Service.
That the President resisted mounting pressure to replace him with other candidates proposed for appointment as the Service’s Chief Executive is a pointer to the Presidency’s confidence in Bichi’s abilities and capabilities which are clearly manifested in his reinvention of the SSS for effective service delivery on all fronts in the last four years.
There is no denying the fact that he has introduced novelty into security intelligence gathering; made the Service become more public friendly by appointing a core professional to manage its Public Relations department. This singular decision has repositioned and re-engineered the Service to have a face that provides declassified information and makes itself more accessible to the media and members of the public. Besides its robust collaboration with the Presidential communication to periodically brief media managers, the Service is continually enhancing public education on preventive measures against crimes through the effective deployment of strategic communication.
Internally, his four-year tenure has brought about an improved welfare scheme for staff through provisions of quality housing accommodation, prompt payment of allowances, and duty tours among other entitlements.
Born on 23 February 1956 in Hagagawa Quarters of Bichi Local Government of Kano State, the 66-year-old Spymaster is a firm believer in designing and implementing new strategies built on the foundation of robust collaboration and stakeholders’ engagement.
And in charging the Service personnel to remain focused, proactive, and productive while dealing with threat projections and dynamics, the SSS Boss “strongly believes that citizens have a place in national security management” given that the primary purpose of government is security and welfare of the people.
A product of Danbatta Secondary School, Kano State College of Advanced Studies, and the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he graduated with a B.Sc in Political Science, he is happily married with children, and good wishes are surely trailing him for a more success-ridden and exploits-oriented second tenure going forward.
As projected in President Buhari’s endorsement of his reappointment, Bichi is geared up “to continue with the good work he is doing in intelligence gathering which has helped greatly to put things in check in the nation’s security sector.”
No doubt here lies the well-deserved and earned applauses for the man Bichi who, on behalf of the Service, has not relented in reassuring citizens, residents, and indeed, the government, of its unalloyed commitment to the public safety and national security.
…DUNIA is an Abuja based journalist.