The Department of State Services (DSS) has, ahead of Saturday’s off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa State, issued a stern warning to electorates, politicians and influential people across the states to stay away from unlawful activities or disruptive behaviour that can threaten public order.
The secret police warned that anyone caught will face severe consequences in accordance with the law.
Vox9ja reports that the DSS has advised key participants and their supporters in the governorship elections to adhere to the established rules of engagement and refrain from actions that could undermine the electoral processes.
In a statement released on Thursday, the DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunaya, expressed concern over the increasing prevalence of inflammatory remarks made by influential figures and representatives of non-governmental organizations both within and outside the country.
The DSS emphasized that making such incendiary statements goes against public peace and harmony principles. Afunaya noted that the use of harsh and critical statements by some individuals is widely believed not only to intensify political tensions but also to create long-lasting hostilities and rifts among the people.
He stressed that such is detrimental to the nation’s interests if its citizens, whether residing domestically or internationally, spread inaccurate and deceitful stories that undermine or damage its reputation.
The statement reads: “With the elections and the attendant contentions legally over, it is expected that we should forge ahead in nation-building without rancour or acrimony. This is against the backdrop that reckless rhetorics have the capacity to lead to social unrest and instability, which can put the country’s well-being and the general safety of citizens at risk.
“Similarly, the Service urges key players and their supporters in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States to conform to the rules of engagement and specifically the electoral law during the 11th November 2023 gubernatorial elections in the areas. The aim is to avert situations likely to undermine the processes. So far, the Service has substantially liaised with INEC, sister security agencies and relevant NGOs to ensure hitch-free exercises in the affected States.
“The Service, therefore, implores all stakeholders, irrespective of their political affiliations or grievances, to engage in respectful and constructive conversations that promote collective understanding. It has thus become imperative that public commentaries should shift towards unity and peace necessary for national development and security. This should be our shared responsibility and, indeed, the priority of everyone.
“Those on election duties, including the media and civil society, are encouraged to avoid things that will inflame sentiments and cause a breakdown of law and order. Broadcast and monitoring activities should be devoid of manipulations. Stakeholders are enjoined to note that politics should not be used to destroy the country or any part of it.
“However, individuals or groups that may decide to engage in illegitimate acts or inimical conducts to public order will be decisively dealt with as dictated by the law. Forewarned is forearmed.
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“Consequently, citizens are encouraged to be patriotic as well as recognise that our loyalty and love to the nation should transcend individual or parochial interests. Everyone is called upon to eschew bitterness and promote dialogue that contributes to the progress of the nation. Together, we can build a stronger and more secure future for our beloved country.”
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