From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, has opened up on how tough operational hazards have decimated the workforce.
Daura spoke last weekend, at the 2017 DSS Health Summit, which held at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), in Abuja.
He explained that some of the identifiable hazards confronting the service personnel include different degrees of physical injuries.
“It is a known fact that intelligence services all over the world operate in anonymity, so much so that the public only comes to know about them when there is intelligence failure or when measures employed to diffuse an attack on the state becomes unsuccessful.
“Our trials and tribulations are, by necessity, kept out of public domain while we strive to carry out our mandate amidst hazardous situations.
“Operatives are seen as mere faceless individuals or members, amongst many unknown individuals, fighting to secure the state. Interestingly, the public hardly knows the extent to which we put our lives on the line, for the country, on daily basis.
“In our context, some of the identifiable problems include but not limited to different degree of physical injuries such as bomb blast injuries, gunshot wounds, fire and chemical burns, among others, that have often manifested as spinal, head, soft tissue and bone injuries, loss of body parts/disfigurement, as well as total incapacitation/ crippling disabilities including deaths.
“These are coupled with peculiar environmental hazards associated with security operations in difficult terrains, particularly in the coastal waters, wild animals infected forest areas and sand storm prone parts of the northern region.
“There are also psychological aftermaths of high risk security operations, which manifest in personality and behaviour distortion in the affected officers medically called post-traumatic stress diseases.
“The consequences have been inability of the affected officers to resume routine work or cope with societal expectations.
“Moreover, there are psychological traumas that have often been accentuated unavoidable social dislocation of families due to routine transfer and posting of personnel,” he said.
Speaking further on the summit, Daura said: “Let me assure you that the DSS places premium on personnel safety and welfare. This event, with the theme ‘Managing the Occupational hazards of DSS Operatives’ aptly intends to reflect on an aspect of the daily ordeal of operatives in the course of securing fatherland. “This is also with a view to raising awareness on the concept of Health and Productivity Management (HPM), which is an area of immense concern to the service. This concept underscores the fact that to be productive, personnel must be in best state of physical, mental and social well-being.
“This concept is even more relevant in risk prone professions like ours. The summit is expected to rely on knowledge and experiences shared with participants regarding the various ways of minimising operational health hazards and risks amongst personnel.”