The All Progressives Congress, APC, has raised an alarm that the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP-led federal government has deployed thousands of masked operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, to Osun State ahead of the August 9 governorship election.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Friday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered why the federal government would send DSS operatives “masked and clad in black” to harass innocent citizens of the state.
“As widely reported, DSS agents, armed to the teeth and riding in over 50 trucks, drove around Osogbo and other parts of Osun State on Wednesday blaring siren and shooting sporadically in the air, thus disrupting the normally peaceful life in the state”, Mr. Mohammed said.
“Residents who were visibly traumatised by the shameful display of state power ran helter-skelter and wondered why their government has sent masked men, or ninjas, to terrorize them. They now understand that the masked thugs who have been following the PDP candidate around on his campaign trail were actually government sanctioned. This is a power show taken too far, even with the well-known impunity tendencies of the Jonathan Administration”, the APC added.
The party said information at its disposal showed that 5,000 more DSS men were being dispatched to the state before the election, on the basis of an orchestrated petition alleging that certain APC leaders are planning to foment trouble during the election.
“The real purpose of this fake petition and the consequent deployment of thousands of secret police to Osun is to harass, intimidate and arrest the leaders of the APC in the state, in a repeat of what transpired in Ekiti”, Mr. Mohammed continued.
“Flooding Osun with irresponsible DSS officials to terrorise the residents is another low for a government that is notorious for abuse of power and federal institutions. It is no longer news that the military, the police and other security agencies are working for the Jonathan Administration, rather than for all of Nigeria. What is new is that the security agencies have now been unleashed on the citizenry. What rankles even more is the constant assurances by President Jonathan that the election will be free and fair. How can we have a credible election in an atmosphere of state-led gangsterism? How can we have a credible election when the FG that is supposed to protect the people and ensure violence-free polls is the same one that purveys violence? Where else in the world do secret police announce themselves by firing to scare away harmless citizens? When did masks become part of the uniform of the State Security Service agents?” the party added.
It reminded the DSS officials that the guns they were using to terrorise the people of Osun were provided for by taxpayers, and that they were indeed trained at the expense of taxpayers, hence it was totally irresponsible and unacceptable for them to turn their guns on the taxpayers.
The APC implored local and international election observers to take note of the pre-election intimidation tactics of the PDP/Goodluck Jonathan Administration which, it said, were designed solely to scare people away from the polling booths and provide the necessary atmosphere for electoral malfeasance to favour their candidate.
The party insisted that it would not accept the same “hear-no-evil, see-no-evil disposition” of President Jonathan, who on one hand assures the international community of credible polls under his watch while at the same time turning a blind eye as his cabinet ministers, other appointees and the security agencies under his control break the law with impunity and become agents of terror.
”Mr. President, you are responsible for the actions of the men and women you appoint into your cabinet. You are the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces,” said Mr. Mohammed.
“You bear the ultimate responsibility for the acts of omission or commission of this category of public officials, as well as the security agencies. You must call them to order if indeed they are not acting under your orders”, Mr. Mohammed added.
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