Nigeria’s Department Of State Security Service (DSS) says it would no longer tolerate deliberate attempts by some groups to throw the country into anarchy to serve the interests of their sponsors.
The secret police said it was assiduously working with other security and law enforcement agencies to ensure the maintenance of peace and internal security of the country.
Nigeria is currently in the eye of the storm, facing security challenges in almost all its major cities, while there have also been agitations by groups for self-determination.
The security agency in a statement by Peter Afunanya, head of its Public Relations Department on Sunday, May 2, frowned at the “unsavoury statements,” made by misguided persons who it perceived as threats to the unity of Nigeria as a nation.
In the statement, the agency also stated that the hateful activities of some religious and political leaders were only aimed at forcing a dissolution of Nigeria.
“Notable are the unnecessary vituperations and activities of some religious and past political leaders who have either called for forceful change of government or mass action against it,” DSS said.
“It has been established that the main objective for these is to cause a disintegration of the country.”
Highly placed Nigerians have criticised President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration’s approach to governance, especially its handling of the insecurity and the economy.
Many including those in the National Assembly have called for the president’s resignation.
But the DSS in its statement expressed disappointment at the calibre of persons “spearheading the disunity of Nigeria,” adding that their personal ambitions had led them to collaborate with external influence against Nigeria
“It is unfortunate that those in the forefront of this are respectable individuals who should be patriotic and not allow their personal ambitions to ruin the nation,” it said.
“The Service has also noted their desperation and penchant to collaborate with external forces and influences against Nigeria.”
It reminded the said individuals that “even though democracy offers free speech, it does not give room to reckless pronouncements capable of undermining security,” adding that expressing one’s franchise during elections is the appropriate manner of effecting “change” in a democratic system of government.
The DSS warned individuals, groups, and influential personalities to be wary of involving themselves in activities that potentially threaten the unity of the nation
“In this regard, self-centred individuals and groups are warned to stop engaging in acts inimical to the peace and sovereignty of this nation.”
“In the same manner, influential personalities should be sensitive to the emerging situations and guard against divisive and inciting utterances that may cause a breakdown of law and order.”
The DSS also revealed that it had “invited and cautioned” some persons regarding their statements.
According to the agency, the said persons had denied and retracted their statements. “Recently, the Service invited and cautioned some persons who deniably recounted their earlier statements or said they were quoted out of context.”
“The public should be wary of such individuals and their co-travellers who incite them in the open but turn in the secret to retrieve their words after they had caused the damage.”
The agency is primarily saddled with the responsibility of detecting and preventing crimes against the internal security of the Nigerian nation.
The DSS, in carrying out its duties, has been involved in a number of controversies. On August 3, 2019, the DSS arrested Omoloye Sowore, an activist and newspaper publisher, over his call for a revolution in Nigeria.
In December of the same year, Sowore was rearrested, despite being granted bail by two court orders. A report by Vanguard newspaper stated that the controversial rearrest of Sowore had “added to growing concerns about Nigeria’s democracy and press freedom which critics say is under pressure.”
Vanguard equally quoted the Nigerian government as saying that Sowore was a person of interest to the security service, by virtue of his call for “a revolution to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nigeria.”
In February 2021, the security agency was involved in yet another controversy after it arrested Tanko-Yakasai, a former aide to the Kano state governor, following his posts on social media, criticizing the current government.
The DSS had, however, refuted claims that it arrested the former aide over the public expression of his opinion
“This is to confirm that Salihu Tanko-Yakasai is with the DSS and he is being investigated over issues beyond the expression of opinions in the social media as wrongly alleged by sections of the public,” Premium Times quoted the service as saying.
The latest warning from the DSS is being speculated by many, to be directed in the position of a catholic priest who had recently called for the impeachment of the current government after being a huge supporter of the latter.