The All Progressives Congress, APC, has described as “plainly implausible and a witless afterthought” the reasons given by the State Security Service, SSS, for carrying out a gestapo-style raid on the party’s data centre in Lagos at the weekend.
The party described the security agency as a shameless apologist of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The spokesperson of the SSS, Marilyn Ogar, on Sunday, said the raid was carried out based on surveillance of the building located on Allen Avenue, Ikeja, which confirmed a petition it received that “unwholesome activities” were taking place there.
The “unwholesome activities”, according to the SSS, was the cloning of INEC Permanent Voters Card with the intention of hacking into INEC data base, corrupting it and replacing them with the perpetrators’ own data.
However, at a press conference held in Lagos on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the APC wondered why a self-respecting intelligence gathering service will rely on “beer parlous gossips” in carrying out its responsibility, especially in a politically-charged environment like Nigeria’s.
“The spokesperson for the SSS said the organization had put the building housing the Data Centre under surveillance, and that it only acted after it was convinced that ‘unwholesome activities’ were taking place. What hogwash! If indeed they put the place under surveillance, would they not have been able to establish that it is an APC Data Centre? Even if they were not sure, what prevents them from obtaining a court order permitting them to enter and search the building instead of carrying out a Gestapo-like operation? Are security agencies above the law?
“To highlight their crudity and lack of professionalism, they had to go and arrest one of the staffers who was not on duty just to get the password to the servers they vandalized and took away. This speaks volumes about the limitation of the DSS’ intelligence gathering ability. If they had broken into the Boko Haram computer, would they have gone to arrest Abubakar Shekau or any of his commanders to give them the password to it? Nigerians can now see why no progress has been made in using intelligence gathering to root out the evil Boko Haram”, APC said.
Mr. Mohammed also said far from the claims of the SSS, which his party considers one of the enforcement arms of the PDP, the real reasons the service broke into the offices of the party were to deprive it of its membership data base so it can no longer contact its members, and also to aid and abet the rigging of the 2015 elections by the PDP.
“With the membership data base now in their possession, it has become easy for them to collude with INEC to know which areas we are strong so they can scuttle the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards there and, during the elections, to also deprive such areas of voting materials”, Mr. Mohammed said.
Meanwhile, the APC said it has been forced to suspend its membership registration following the damage done to its equipment at its Data Centre in Lagos by the invading force of the SSS and the Navy.
“The viciousness and barbarism of the attack on the Data Centre and the arrest of 26 innocent workers, which put a lie to the SSS claim, have disrupted and corrupted the continuous offline and online membership registration across the country.
“The over 50 security men who invaded our offices not only vandalized the offices, they pulled out and carted away the Server and computer systems. Their activities have therefore affected the process of online/offline registration and data capture of APC members across the country, hence we are left with no choice than to suspend the process”, the party said.
The party reiterated its earlier call for an independent inquiry into the invasion, saying the invasion has taken the impunity of the Jonathan Administration to its worst level yet, with a view to determining the identity of those who sent the invading force and meting out the necessary punishment to them, irrespective of their political status.
“It is important to get to the bottom of this unprecedented action in the political history of our nation, especially because it may have compromised the 2015 general elections”, APC said, calling on all Nigerians as well as the country’s international partners to condemn the action.