DSS Denies Opening Fire on Protesters

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By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

Department of State Security (DSS) said it did not open fire on protesters and journalists that covered the protest organised by Concerned Nigerians for the release of the Convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore, at its headquarters in Abuja.

Operatives of the DSS had Tuesday shot live ammunition at protesters and journalists covering a peaceful protest. Many journalists were brutalised and their camera and other equipment were seized.

ARISE TV cameraman, Stanley Ugochukwu, was not spared as he was brutalised while his camera was equally snatched by the operatives.

But a statement issued by Spokesman of the agency, Dr Peter Afunanya, Wednesday said it was protecting its facility from protesters, who made attempts to break into its headquarters and effect the release of Sowore.

DSS also expressed its readiness to effect his release when “processes are concluded”. It said representations made for his release so far were not satisfactory.

“The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to state that its operatives did not open fire on alleged protesters who had stormed its facility on 12th November, 2019.

“As a normal global security practice, the operatives stood in defence of their facility when some group of persons made unruly attempts to forcefully break into the place and effect the release of Omoyele Sowore”, he said.

He said “despite serial and unwarranted provocations, the service, as a professional and responsible organisation, did not shoot at the so called protesters. It could not have done so”.

On Sowore, the DSS expressed its readiness to effect his release when “processes are concluded”. It said representations made for his release were not satisfactory.

“For emphasis, the service reiterates its avowed readiness to release Sowore once the processes are concluded. It maintains that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of Sowore.

“While all those that have so far shown up are not directly concerned with the matter and therefore unqualified, many others have either chosen to grandstand or politicise it to achieve hidden interests.

“In the last few days, the service has continued to witness deliberate campaigns of calumny, threats and aspersions against it. It will not, for any reason, join issues with its mudslingers. The media is called upon to be neutral and remain champions of the truth”, he said.