|Director General of the State Security Service|
7 September 2010 – 2 July 2015
|Preceded by||Afakriya Gadzama|
|Succeeded by||Lawal Musa Daura|
|Born||Cross River State|
Ita Esien Ekpeyong mni (or Ekpenyong) is a Nigerian security officer who was appointed Director General of the State Security Service after Afakriya Gadzama was dismissed on 7 September 2010 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ekpeyong was born in Cross River State. He studied at the University of Calabar, obtaining a BA (Hons) in History in 1982, and then a Masters in Philosophy. He was the first director of the Institute of Security Studies in Abuja, a training school for Intelligence Officers. He then was appointed director of the Senior Staff Development Centre of the SSS in Bauchi. Ekpenyong held in turn the positions of SSS director in the states of Bauchi, Kwara, Lagos, Anambra and the Federal Capital Territory. Before being appointed SSS Director General he was Acting National Director (Operations) of the SSS. He managed intelligence successfully during the 2007 governorship election in Anambra State, and this is said to have influenced Jonathan in his favor.
SSS Director General
Ekpeyong was appointed Director General of the State Security Service on 7 September 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan. Ekpenyong is perceived as likely to improve the public perception of the SSS, which as been negative in the past. He has said "The frontiers of security management have moved away from the culture of impunity to the friendly frontiers of the rule of law, due process, civility and professionalism ... Democratic changes and their attributes, such as due process, rule of law and respect for human rights, have become very important for us".
After pre-election violence in Benue State in March 2011, the SSS invited prominent people for questioning at SSS headquarters in Abuja. They included Adamu Aleiro, Barnabas Gemade, Iyorchia Ayu, Steve Ugpa, Daniel Saror and PDP Chairman in the state, Dr. Agbo Emmanuel. The session, held in an underground cell, lasted for about five hours. At one point Ekpenyong ordered the call to be plunged in darkness for ten minutes to show what the leaders would face if the violence persisted. After the interrogation an SSS spokesperson said "they were invited because investigations revealed that they were behind the present political violence in the state and that after the interrogation, they showed remorse and were mandated to sign an undertaking to give peace a chance in the state".
Talking before the April 2011 national elections, Ekpeyong discussed factors that could mitigate against free and fair elections. These included the illegal arms shipments, inflammatory stories in the media, religion, political violence and extremist Islamic sects such as the Boko Haram. Earlier, he had spoken out against "the denial of venues by some state governments to opposition parties". He said that the SSS would provide security to all parties throughout the election period, and would ensure that all parties had a level playing field. On 2 July 2015, Ekpeyong was dismissed by President Muhammadu Buhari and was replaced by Lawal Musa Daura who was a former retired State Director of Security Service
- "EKPENYONG ESIEN ITA, CFR, mni (2010 to 2015)". Nigerian State Security Service. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
- Iyobosa Uwugiaren; Chuks Ohuegbe; Golu Timothy; Emmanuel Iriogbe (8 September 2010). "Igboman Heads Army 40 Yrs After Civil War". Leadership (Abuja). Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- JULIANA TAIWO (March 8, 2011). "Why I appointed Ita Ekpeyong SSS DG - Jonathan". The Sun (Nigeria). Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- "Ita Ekpenyong". Transparency for Nigeria. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- "Varying the Guard According to His Taste". ThisDay. 11 Sep 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- "Nation, Violence and Efficient Intelligence". Vanguard (Nigeria). 11 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- Soji Bamidele (March 31, 2011). "SSS questions Aliero, Gemade and Ayu". Next (Nigeria). Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- "SSS: Okah, Boko Haram, illegal arms threaten polls". Indepth Nigeria. March 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- Yusuph Olaniyonu (18 Mar 2011p). "Nigeria's Competitive Authoritarians". ThisDay. Retrieved 2011-06-22.
- Adelani Adepegba; Abuja ... (15 Mar 2011). "Divisive politics, religious sentiment our greatest security concerns —SSS DG". The Punch.