•Ask secret police to go after troublemakers
By Deji Elumoye, Kingsley Nwezeh, Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja and John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), the pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, and the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), have urged the Department of State Services (DSS) to go after those plotting to incite violence in the country instead of issuing security alarm.
They were reacting to the alarm raised earlier yesterday by the DSS over an alleged plot by some groups to incite violence in the country by exploiting the nation’s fault lines.
The DSS, some weeks ago, had raised similar concerns.
In a statement by its spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunanya, the DSS said the unnamed groups planned to incite violence in some parts of the country.
The agency warned such groups to desist from such evil plans or face the full wrath of the law.
“The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby reminds the public of its earlier warnings about plans by persons and groups to exploit some fault lines to cause ethno-religious violence in parts of the country.
“Latest developments indicate desperate efforts by these groups to subvert public order. In this regard, they have continued to resort to inciting unguarded and divisive statements and acts”, it said.
It accused the groups of plotting to pit citizens against one another to cause discord.
“For the umpteenth time, the service strongly warns these elements to desist forthwith from their planned, nefarious acts or face the full wrath of the law,” it stated.
Afunanya said the DSS would, in collaboration with other security and law enforcement agencies, take steps to ensure the safety of lives and property.
But in a swift reaction, Afenifere and PANDEF faulted the latest security alert raised by the secret police, describing it as a gimmick to raise a false alarm.
Afenifere said the security agency knew those reportedly behind such plans but would not arrest them because of their strong connections with the government.
Its spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, told THISDAY: “These people know those who are responsible for these acts but can’t touch them because of their connections with the troubling controller of Nigeria. Let them continue to abuse the rest of us for the sin of their favoured ones.”
On its part, PANDEF expressed concern over the latest strategy of the DSS, describing the warning as unnecessary and capable of exacerbating tension in the country.
National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Hon. Ken Robinson, told THISDAY that the security outfit has tragically turned itself into a mere alarmist and doomster.
He stated that Nigeria’s problems are caused by the way the nation is being run with many people feeling alienated, stressing that the government should demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of the citizenry.
“Everyone, including the DSS, knows the causes of the many problems of the country. Principal amongst which is the way and manner the affairs of the country are being conducted. The exaltation of nepotism in governance; the situation whereby some ethnic groups and sections of the country are considered more important than others, and key appointments are based on primordial considerations and not merit, is pathetic and detrimental to national peace and stability.
“Many Nigerians feel alienated and disaffected, therefore the solution is not the deployment of propaganda by key security agencies. This could further divide the citizenry along ethnic and religious lines. The government needs to demonstrate sincerity and commitment to the wellbeing of all citizens, no matter where one comes from and his or her religion,” he added.
ACF has also asked the DSS to be proactive in dealing with those plotting to incite violence.
Spokesman of the forum, Mr. Emmanuel Yawe, told THISDAY that since the DSS knows those behind the plot, it should be proactive in dealing with them.
According to him, raising alarm without taking action against those behind the plot means nothing.
“Who are the people? Since the DSS knows them and their Satanic mission, they should be proactive in dealing with them.
“Raising an alarm means nothing when the people inciting a national crisis are left free,” Yawe said.
CAN has also asked the DSS to rise up to its constitutional responsibility of securing lives and property rather than frequently raising the alarm.
In a statement yesterday by the Special Assistant to CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the organisation said the DSS owed Nigerians a constitutional duty to arrest those involved in the plot.
“Whenever the Department of State Security (DSS ) raises any alarm over the security of the country, ordinarily, one should take them seriously because of the fact that their primary responsibility includes but not limited to intelligence gathering.
“We recall that the agency raised a similar alarm recently. But how many suspects have been arrested, detained and arraigned over the last ones? All the killings in the country have been happening without bringing those responsible to book,” it said.
CAN urged those who are responsible for the security of lives and property to wake up to their constitutional responsibilities.
“Are they not aware? People are being kidnapped on the highways and in their residences without any arrest. We wonder why? Those who are shedding the innocent blood and those who are kidnapping for ransom are they spirits?
“This doesn’t speak well of us as a nation. Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals are not invincible and until they are being apprehended and successfully prosecuted, people will no longer have respect for those who are in charge of the security,” it stated.
On its part, NEF said those inciting the crisis should not be allowed to succeed.
Spokesman of the forum, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that those attacking Fulani communities and destroying their property are threatening the foundation of security.
“If there are people pushing the country into deeper crises and they are known; they should be treated according to the law.”