The recently dismissed cadets of the Department of State Services (DSS) have petitioned the Senate and the National Human Rights Commission to look into their dismissal from the Training School in Lagos, a month to graduation.
In the petition, they recalled how they were humiliated and dehumanized before being thrown out of the school.
It would be recalled that 60 of them were dismissed while 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 60 officers were among the 420 graduate trainees who had been in the academy since December 2014, for a 10-month training programme.
The would-be officers, most of them doctors and other para-medical graduates, had gone through the three categories of their training and were due for commissioning into the service as Senior Intelligence Officers (SIO) on October 26, 2015.
The letter of dismissal dated 4th September, 2015, and signed by one GK Mohammed on behalf of the Director-General of the State Services, Lawal Daura reads:
“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.”
But they said they were thoroughly humiliated and dehumanized before their forceful exit from the campus located at Ojo in Lagos. Part of their protest signed by their Lagos based lawyer Clarence Yakubu reads:
“On Wednesday 9th of September 2015 at exactly 13:00hrs, a team from NHSS, Abuja, came and about sixty of us were called out of the VIP PROTECTION PRATICAL and asked us to march to the multi-purpose hall for further directives. At about 15:00hrs we were asked to present our original credentials for screening to the NHSS team which Mabel Chinwe Uka was among them.
“On Thursday the following day at about 12:00hrs all the female cadets were called out to jog to the multi-purpose hall for physical screening from there we were asked to move to tatto ground and go in group to the conference hall.
“On getting there we were asked to remove our cloths completely for them to check if we have tattoo on our body. It was led by Mabel from NHSS. Barr.Okoguale (SIOI) by rank threatened us to open our private part and raise our hands up for her to check for the tattoo. A moslem female cadet narrated said she refused to remove her pant that it’s against her religion.
“After threatening her and Okoguale noticed the lady was not ready to comply she was left alone. After that, dismissal letters were given to us we were asked to leave the academy immediately under the rain on Friday. The sixty of us were called out again to march to our hostels to pack our belongings.
“After few minutes later, the security guards came and hurried us out of the hostel under the heavy downpour, marched us to the gym, from there all our lecture materials and the leadership training certificate issued to us were collected from us.
“We wonder why we were so humiliated before we were asked out of training that we had only one month left, even when the children of a past Director-General three serving directors who are also cadets were left untouched.”