Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa polls: DSS fires warning shot 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned against inflammatory statements by certain people capable of  heating up the polity and setting the ground for deep-seated animosities and divisions among the populace. 

This is as the service has urged key players and their supporters in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa states to conform to the rules of engagement and specifically the Electoral Law.

A press statement by the DSS Director, Public Relations and Strategic Communications, Dr Peter Afunanya, Thursday in Abuja, said: “The DSS has observed rising trends and patterns of incendiary comments by some personalities of influence and representatives of non-governmental entities within and outside the country. Such statements run against public peace and harmony.

“It is strongly believed that a resort to acerbic pronouncements by certain persons will not only heat-up the polity but set the ground for deep-seated animosities and divisions among the populace.

“Also, it serves the country no good if its own citizens, whether at home or abroad, demarket or subvert her through misleading and false narratives.

“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.”

Afunanya added that, “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 November 11, 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.”

The spokesperson further stated, “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.”