The Department of State Services, DSS has a raised a disturbing alarm over the alleged plots by certain groups and individuals to cause a breakdown of law and order in the country as the Yuletide celebration approaches.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the spokesperson of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, warned those behind such action to retrace their steps as the service would deal with them and their collaborators according to the law.
Afunaya lamented that many simply “want to use the present situation in the country to cause divisions among citizens, gain cheap popularity and put the country in an ungovernable state.
He stated that this was more so as the service had observed that some persons who are desperately seeking power use wrong and skewed narratives to not only mislead citizens but overheat the polity.
He noted that already, such persons were exploiting and politicising the issue of insecurity in parts of the country for pecuniary and other selfish reasons.
Afunaya also raised the alarm that members of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly as well as other public and private sector workers on vacation may be predisposed to threats of various degrees.
He pointed out this also applied to Nigerians who may travel from within and outside the country to join their loved ones for the celebrations.
He said, “These individuals are susceptible to kidnapping, hijack, assassinations, armed robbery and political manipulations.
“The service, therefore, warns that those who are involved in this evil plot of destabilising the country should desist from such acts. It also enjoins politicians to play by the rule and avoid statements or activities capable of inflaming the fires of division and violence prior to the 2023 elections. “Opinion moulders like the religious and traditional rulers are also to guard their utterances and avoid inciting pronouncements.”
fires of division and violence prior to the 2023 elections. “Opinion moulders like the religious and traditional rulers are also to guard their utterances and avoid inciting pronouncements.”
Speaking further the service spokesperson noted that “It is common knowledge that criminal elements will heighten their inglorious activities before, during and after the festive periods.
“Therefore, religious and community leaders, hoteliers and operators of markets, parks, recreational and relaxation centres are to be on the alert and watch strange movements and activities around their facilities.
“Such facilities include places of worship, palaces, markets, schools and other public buildings.
“Owners and operators of these public spaces and their patrons should endeavour to isolate and report suspected rogues to security agencies for prompt response.
“Consequently, the service’s interactive website and complaint lines will remain active and available to the public. Its formations at the state and local government levels will be open 24 hours of the day. This is in line with the service’s commitment and support to the populace.
“As schools vacate and students return home for holidays, there is the likelihood that subversive gangs will target them for recruitment for undesirable intents. “Parents and guardians are therefore advised to be watchful of their children and wards and ensure that they do not engage in unlawful acts.
“Aside from students, recessing members of National Assembly/State Houses of Assembly and other public/ private sector workers on vacation may be predisposed to threats of various degrees. This also applies to Nigerians who may travel from within and outside the country to join their loved ones for the celebrations
“These individuals are susceptible to kidnapping, hijack, assassinations, armed robbery and political manipulations. They are advised to be security-conscious in order not to fall victims of these attacks and destructive political maneuvers.
“Let me reiterate at this juncture that those who sponsor kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, insurgency and all kinds of attacks on security agents, civilians and vulnerable populations should have a rethink.
“These persons, whether in the North or South, know themselves. There is no doubt that they have crossed the lines and it is now time to crush them.”
The service also accused the legal team of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, of misleading the public with fake news about how their client was allegedly being maltreated in custody. Afunaya pointed out that contrary to what was being peddled, Kanu was not being starved or ill-treated in any way.
He said, “On IPOB and the alleged ill-treatment of its detained leader, the service has, without any fear of contradiction, applied restraint in making public statements over the matter.
“The reason is simply because it avoids joining issues especially over a matter that is sub-judice. But for the sake of transparency and democratic accountability, the service has decided to make some clarifications.
“The DSS denies all the inciting allegations by IPOB and states that Nnamdi Kanu is not, in any way, maltreated in custody.
“Adequate attention is paid to Kanu’s health. He has unhindered access to the best medical care and doctors. Kanu himself has confirmed to his visitors that the service has never, in any way, maltreated him.
“The story of Kanu being starved is fallacious. He could not have been starved as he enjoys meals of his choice. That he is not allowed change of clothing is also false. He is regularly allowed change of clothing as against what is presented to the public by IPOB propagandists.
“Assuming he is being maltreated, how come his visitors told him he was looking well? All the allegations of violation of his rights as a suspect, victimisation and starvation, among others, are not true.
“It is unfortunate that some elements have decided to use outright misinformation to represent the state of affairs. Those who make these false stories do so to attract undue attention for the singular purpose of achieving a desired end. Rather than focus on how he should get justice, Kanu’s legal team and some mischievous elements among them have chosen to use fake news to mislead the public.
“Instructively, the media is reminded of its duty in national security. As influencers, media practitioners are called upon to use their platforms to pursue peaceful coexistence. They must commit themselves to the unity of the country and shun misinformation, fake news, hate speech and such other misleading narratives.”