By Senator Iroegbu
The Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian police have advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone the September 10, 2016 gubernatorial elections in Edo State.
This was the outcome of the closed-door meeting on Wednesday between the two security agencies when the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris visited his DSS counterpart, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura in Abuja.
A joint statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer (PRO), DCP Don Awunah, and Mr. Garba Abdullahi of the DSS, informed the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies indicates plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th September, 2016.
They noted that Edo State is amongst the States being earmarked for these planned attacks by the extremist elements.
Part of the statement read: “The public would recall that similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as the Ed-el-fitr holidays in July, 2016.
“However, the security agencies were able to decisively disrupt and thwart the insurgents’ plan. In the same vein, while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the country to be disrupted, and we will continue to remain vigilant and ensure consolidation of the successes gained in the current counter-insurgency fight.”
“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.”
The two agencies say they are mindful of the inconveniences the request may cause the various political stakeholders, but expressed strong resolve that security agencies need not be distracted from ensuring a peaceful and secured Nigeria now and always.
The Police and DSS also urged members of the public that the security agencies will continue to remain focused and committed and are being enjoined to remain vigilant.
They further advised that the attention of the Security Agencies should be drawn to any observed unusual movements or actions by groups or individuals in their neighbourhoods.