Buhari Warns Perpetrators of Electoral Violence

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DSS assures of adequate security during elections

Alex Enumah and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has again warned that sponsors and perpetrators of electoral violence in the forthcoming elections will face the law, no matter how highly influential they are.

In a related development, the Department of State Services (DSS) has assured Nigerians as well as foreign nationalities participating as observers in the forthcoming elections of adequate security before, during and after the general election.

The President, who was represented by Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Congo, Deborah Iliya, gave the warning in Southern Kaduna, during the women conference of the First African Church Mission, held in Zuturung, Gada Biyu, Zango Kataf Local Govt Area (LGA), with the theme: “I Will Help You”.

The President described those who sponsor election violence as unpatriotic, advising the citizens to embrace peaceful conduct, shun political thuggery and other forms of crisis.

“The President is a man of peace and bridge builder. Though he has been greatly misunderstood by many because of his fight against corruption, but he means very well for Nigeria, he is a respecter of every religion and tribe.

“Those who sponsor and perpetrate violence in the 2019 elections will face the law, no matter how highly influential. Let me also say that Nigeria is our country, we do not have any other place called Nigeria. This country will not be sacrificed on the altar of violence”, the ambassador stated.

The President who also solicited for the support of the people of Southern Kaduna in his re-election agenda said that “I’m not an apostle of bloodshed; no, I’m not available for violence.”

The President added, “On the front burner of the agenda of the present administration is the provision of adequate security to the citizenry. This, the President has since demonstrated, by equipping the various security agencies, so that they would always act more efficiently.

“Our youths are the leaders of tomorrow and so, they must shun any invitation meant to use them for violence. As you all prepare for the general election, please come out, and cast your votes. Do not exchange your Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for money. Your PVC is your power, come out, exercise your franchise and ensure your vote counts,” he said.

On its part, the DSS in a statement appealed to all to be law-abiding and adhere strictly to the electoral guidelines in order to ensure peace during the polls.

“The service commits itself to the provision of adequate security throughout the period of the electoral process”, the statement read.

The secret service urged politicians and youth to shun all acts of violence calling on observers to keep to the fundamentals and principles of election monitoring as allowed by law and global best practice.

“Without 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”, spokesperson of the DSS, Peter Afunanya said.

He warned against the use of fake news, incendiary or hate speeches designed to whip up dangerous ethnic, religious and/or political sentiments capable of stoking the embers of violence.

He urged members of the public to endeavour to reach the DSS on the following telephone lines and e-mail address: 07055655591; 09030002189 and dsspr@dss.gov.ng if and when the need arises.