DSS sends strong warning to NGOs, others over off-cycle elections

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The Department of State Services has issued a warning against remarks meant to sow discord ahead of the governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo.

The agency further stated that several powerful individuals and leaders of non-governmental organisations both domestically and abroad had made these remarks.

According to a statement released on Thursday by Peter Afunanyo, Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communications, such remarks would incite animosity among the populace and this action would not benefit the country.

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It read, “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 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.

“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. ”

Afunanya also urged supporters and politicians to shun acts that could undermine the peaceful conduct of the election.

He said, “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 DSS, 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.”

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