State Security Service
A visit to the website of the State Security Service, http://www.dss.gov.ng, on Tuesday showed that the platform is dormant. Virtually all the sections of the website containe no single information. In fact, the ‘
Wanted List’ section, which one would have ordinarily expected to be active, was left with no information.
A check on similar secret and intelligence agencies in the United States – including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency – painted the picture of the seriousness with which the country deployed information and communication technology to nip kidnapping and terrorism in the bud.
The SSS may also need to consider the use of the digital media as it pertains to its primary function of intelligence gathering. For instance, virtually all FBI branches in the US have a Twitter handle, while a centralised handle, @FBIPressOffice, is dedicated to its headquarters. On @FBIPressOffice, there is a direct link on its bio where American citizens can log on to give crime tips to the agency.
Besides, the FBI also deploys a Facebook account as well as a YouTube channel with which it alerts Americans on issues concerning terrorism, abductions and other organised crimes.
The CIA, which collects information related to foreign intelligence and foreign counter-intelligence, does not also stop at updating website regularly, but also deploys an official YouTube channel as well a Flickr – an online photo management and sharing application – in its quest for efficiency.
Considering the increasing number of Nigerians spending quality hours online daily, the SSS may take one or two lessons from these.
Apart from the fact that http://www.fbi.gov is regularly updated, its ‘’wanted persons’’ list, unlike that of the SSS, is not empty, while security alerts as well as Frequently Asked Questions about its operations are in place on the website.
The website of the Nigeria Police, http://www.npf.gov.ng, is up and fully operational. But one wonders why the police, which regularly declare suspected criminals wanted on various traditional media platforms, say her list of wanted persons is still ‘’Loading.’’ The information on the section simply states, “Loading… content coming soon.’’
However, the website is one portal every Nigerian who takes the issue of security seriously should visit. The phone numbers of all the seven Deputy Inspectors-Generals, 22 Assistant Inspectors-Generals as well as that of the Commissioners of Police of each
state command together with the State Police Public Relations Officers of each have been uploaded on the site. The contacts may be of use to you in case of emergency.
Besides, the Nigeria Police website has a section for what it calls ‘e-policing’, where people who subscribe to the initiative can get newsletters, crime trends and other important information pertaining to security, delivered to their electronic mail box.
It’s worthy of note that the police Twitter handle, @PoliceNG, and its Facebook page are being used to issue statements about the activities of the various police formations in the country. The police have grown a following of 33,117 and 22,747 on Twitter and Facebook
But a lot still needs to be done by the various state police commands to take advantage of the digital media, by having websites of their own and embracing the use of social media platforms for effective policing of their respective domains.
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps
The website of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps is http://www.nscdc.gov.ng. The managers of the website seem to be taking the online presence of the corps seriously. The NSCDC, also has its presence on two social media channels – Facebook and Twitter. Though the corps started well on Twitter, which it signed up for on September 8,
2010, it has since abandoned its use. The handle, @CIVILDEFENDERS, last fell in the good books of the corps on April 27.
The Nigeria Army is a recent adopter of the social media. It joined Facebook on April 12 and Twitter on May 14, 2013. Its Facebook account boasts a following of 234 people while it has a fan base of 37 people on Twitter.
It is noteworthy that the three services of the Nigerian Armed Forces viz, Nigeria Navy; Nigeria Air Force and Nigeria Army have regularly updated websites. Besides, they
recently cultivated the habit of having dedicated web portals for their various recruitment exercises.