The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the federal government of terrorising and intimidating the people of Osun state, with a view to cowing them ahead of the state’s August gubernatorial election. In a press statement issued in Lagos on Friday by its national publicity secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered why the government would send agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) to the state “to harass innocent citizens in an unprovoked and primitive show of power that could only be described as sheer gangsterism.”
”As widely reported, DSS agents, armed to the teeth and riding in over 50 trucks, drove around Osogbo and other parts of Osun state on Wednesday, blaring siren and shooting sporadically in the air, thus disrupting the normally-peaceful life in the state,” APC said. ”Residents who were visibly traumatised by the shameful display of state power ran helter-skelter and wondered why their government had sent masked men, or ninjas, to terrorize them. They now understand that the masked thugs who have been following the PDP candidate around on his campaign trail were actually government sanctioned. This is a power show taken too far, even with the well-known impunity tendencies of the Jonathan Administration.”
APC alleged that information at its disposal showed that 5,000 more DSS men were being dispatched to the state before the election, “on the basis of an orchestrated petition alleging that certain APC leaders are planning to foment trouble during the election.” ”The real purpose of this fake petition and the consequent deployment of thousands of secret police to Osun is to harass, intimidate and arrest the leaders of the APC in the state, in a repeat of what transpired in Ekiti,” the party stated. ”Flooding Osun with irresponsible DSS officials to terrorize the residents is another low for a government that is notorious for abuse of power and federal institutions.
It is no longer news that the military, the police and other security agencies are working for the Jonathan Administration, rather than for all of Nigeria. What is new is that the security agencies have now been unleashed on the citizenry. ”What rankles even more is the constant assurances by President Jonathan that the election will be free and fair. How can we have a credible election in an atmosphere of state-led gangsterism? How can we have a credible election when the FG that is supposed to protect the people and ensure violence-free polls is the same one that purveys violence? Where else in the world do secret police announce themselves by firing to scare away harmless citizens? When did masks become part of the uniform of the State Security Service agents?”
It reminded the DSS officers that the guns they were using to terrorise the people of Osun were given to them by taxpayers, and that they were indeed trained at the expense of taxpayers, hence it was totally irresponsible and unacceptable for them to turn their guns on the taxpayers. APC called on “local and international election observers to take note of the pre-election intimidation tactics of the PDP/Jonathan administration, which were designed to scare people away from the polling booths and provide the necessary atmosphere for electoral malfeasance.”
The party said that” it would not accept the same hear-no-evil, see-no-evil disposition of President Jonathan, who on one hand would be assuring the international community of credible polls under his watch, while at the same time looking the other way as his cabinet ministers, other appointees and the security agencies under his control break the law with impunity and become agents of terror.”
”Mr. President, you are responsible for the actions of the men and women you appoint into your cabinet. You are the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. You bear the ultimate responsibility for the acts of omission or commission of this category of public officials, as well as the security agencies. You must call them to order if indeed they are not acting under your orders.”