Elections: HURIWA Tasks DSS, Police, Armed Forces on Neutrality

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has decried the sudden upsurge of politically tainted arrest and detention of officials of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

HURIWA warned that should the trend continue then the elections would be tainted by corrupt practices in favour of the incumbent thereby denying legitimacy and credibility to the process and the outcomes may occasion upsurge of migrations from the country by those genuinely afraid for their lives because of their political differences with the incumbent President who has demonstrated overwhelming preferences for appointing only his tribesmen and religious cohorts into strategic internal security and defence portfolios.

The Rights group particularly condemned the illegal activities of the Kaduna State Directorate of the Department of State Services (DSS) which is akin to a total clampdown on the leading opposition political party (PDP) under guises of some phantom and trumped up charges that the political leaders are involved in the use of hate speeches.

The group lambasted the highly partisan Department of State Services for keeping mute and for her conspiratorial silence when the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nassir El Rufai, openly canvassed hate crime by threatening to kill off foreign observers should they interfere in the February 16 polls.

The group said the actions and inactions of the secret police which portrays it as highly partisan and politically compromised will inevitably damage the institutional integrity of the body which is a statutory and corporate entity funded by the people of Nigeria even though the office is domiciled wrongly under the presidency. HURIWA has also promised to sponsor a bill before the National Assembly in the next session to grant full automomy to the DSS to operate just like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States of America.

“We are by this media intervention calling on the Director General of DSS to abide by the tenets of the constitution and carry out the obligations of the department in total compliance with the due process of the law and not turn the institution to private guards of the APC.

“The operatives of DSS are totally wrong and prejudicial to clamp down on PDP officials who were going about the legitimate campaign activities in which case not a single life has been lost unlike the campaign rallies of the Kaduna State governor in which fatalities were recorded and the governor called for body bags for foreign observers.”

“The arbitrary arrests and detention of the PDP officials violates the chapter 4 of the constitution and is meant to clip the wings of the opposition party and cripple multiparty democracy in Kaduna State and to foist a predetermined outcome in favour of the APC in the February 16 election and the gubernatorial poll in early March.”