Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Department of State Services (DSS), has warned that it will identify and arrest criminals, their collaborators, politicians and other stakeholders involved in hate speech, whose activities are counter to achieving peaceful and orderly 2019 general elections.
The statement signed by the DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya, read that the service is committed to the provision of adequate security throughout the period of the elections.
While warning prospective lawbreakers to steer clear of acts capable of undermining national security and stability, the service urged all citizens to responsibly exercise their civic duties without fear, emphasising that security measures had been put in place for the safety of lives and property.
“As Nigerians go to the polls to elect their leaders at the national and state levels, the DSS enjoins all stakeholders – politicians, citizens, voters, observers, electoral officers, the media, Civil Society Organisations and security operatives to be law abiding and observe the rules of engagement as doing so is germane to the success of the exercise.
“The service commits itself to the provision of adequate security throughout the period of the electoral process. Politicians and the youth are expected to shun all acts of violence the same way observers are urged to keep to the fundamentals and principles of election monitoring as allowed by law and global best practice.
“Without a doubt, the Electoral Act is clear on the roles of stakeholders. The common aim of all and sundry should be for Nigeria to hold successful elections that will be adjudged free, fair, transparent and credible and accepted nationally and internationally.
“Everyone is urged to conduct themselves properly before, during and after the elections and avoid actions that may cause breakdown of law and order. On its part, the DSS will professionally discharge its statutory mandate which, among others, is to detect and prevent threats and crimes against the internal security of Nigeria.
“Also, it will appropriately engage stakeholders. This is for the protection and success of the elections. Therefore, ensuring security that will make the electoral process noble and acceptable to participants and their supporters is uppermost to the service.
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“In this regard, the service is determined to identify and arrest criminals and their collaborators whose activities are counter to the national objective of achieving peaceful and orderly elections.
“Similarly, the service will not condone fake news, incendiary or hate speeches designed to whip up dangerous ethnic, religious and/or political sentiments capable of stoking the embers of violence.
“Consequently, prospective lawbreakers are forewarned to steer clear of acts capable of undermining national security and stability. The service will, however, not stand idly and watch miscreants and mischief makers bring avoidable chaos and disorder upon the nation.
“Furthermore, the public is implored to support security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to undertake violence-free elections. In the same vein, law-abiding citizens and residents are entreated to timely avail these agencies information regarding suspected thuggery, theft of electoral materials, the violence of any dimensions and other plans that will bring our democratic journey to question.
“Once again, the DSS encourages all citizens to responsibly exercise their civic duties without fear as security measures have been put in place for the safety of lives and property.
“However, Nigerians and, indeed, residents are advised to be vigilant and promptly report, to security and law-enforcement agencies nearest to them for deserved interventions, unusual activities or movements likely to undermine the elections,” the statement read.
The service released numbers, adding. “For the avoidance of doubt, the following telephone lines and e-mail address (07055655591; 09030002189) and [email protected]) can be used to reach the service during the period under reference.”