*Stop politicising security, CAN, NSCIA tell FG
*Arrest, prosecute suspects — CAN
*Fish out those plotting ethno-religious violence, NSCIA tells DSS
By Soni Daniel & Luminous Jannamike
The Department of State Services, DSS, has again warned against plans by some persons and groups to exploit some fault lines to cause ethno-religious violence in some parts of the country.
The Public Relations Officer of the Service, Dr Peter Afunanya, who disclosed this in a statement in Abuja yesterday, listed Lagos, Oyo, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Plateau and states in the South East as areas being targeted.
DSS had on January 11, issued an alert of plans by some elements working with external forces to incite religious violence across the country.
The alert also listed the above states as those being targeted.
It said the plan was to cause inter-religious conflicts by the plotters who would use their foot soldiers to attack some worship centres, religious leaders, personalities, as well as key and vulnerable points, adding that the latest developments on the alert indicated desperate efforts by these groups to subvert public order.
Afunanya said those behind the plot have continued to resort to inciting unguarded and divisive statements, plotting also to pit citizens against one another to apparently inflame the embers of tribal and religious discords.
“For the umpteenth time, the Service strongly warns these elements to desist forthwith from their (planned) nefarious acts or face the full wrath of the law.
“The DSS will, in collaboration with other security and law enforcement agencies take necessary steps to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizenry,” he said.
Meanwhile, reacting to the DSS’ alarm yesterday, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, warned the Federal Government, particularly law enforcement agencies to guard against politicisation of security issues, saying such acts could undermine the safety of lives and properties.
In a statement signed by the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, in Abuja, Can said: “Whenever the DSS raises any alarm over the security of the country, ordinarily, one should take them seriously because of the fact that their primary responsibility includes but not limited to intelligence gathering.
“We recall that the agency raised similar alarm recently. But how many suspects have been arrested, detained and arraigned over the last ones?
“All the killings in the country have been happening without bringing those responsible to book. Are they not aware? People are being kidnapped on the highways and in their residences without any arrest. We wonder why?
“Those shedding the innocent blood and those involved in the crime of kidnapping for ransom are they spirits?
“The Christian Association of Nigeria calls on those responsible for the security of lives and property of the people to wake up to their constitutional responsibilities.
“The least that is expected of any responsible government is the protection of lives and property of the citizens which our governments have not been able to do.
“Sometimes, some suspects will be paraded but their prosecutions remain unknown. This doesn’t speak well of us as a nation.
“Terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals are not invincible and until they are being apprehended and successfully prosecuted, people will no longer have respect for those in charge of the security.
“Imagine the ongoing controversy trailing the tenure of the Inspector General of Police. Is that good for the country when we all know the aftermath of prolonging the tenure of the immediate past Service Chiefs?
“Our government should stop politicising our security. It is high time the media stood up and asked our governments serious questions through front page comments and editorial.”
On its own, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has asked the DSS, and other security agencies to find and prosecute those behind the plot to incite a nationwide ethno-religious violence.
In a statement by its Head of Media and Publicity, Alhaji Ibrahim Aselemi in Abuja, NSCIA said: “The leadership of the NSCIA is worried about the security alert issued by the DSS, National Headquarters Abuja, made available by its PRO, Dr. Peter Afunanya.
“We fervently appeal to these faceless persons planning to subvert the public peace and order in the country to sheathe their swords.
“On our part, we shall continue to advocate for respect for the religious beliefs of all and peaceful religious coexistence in Nigeria. We sincerely believe that we are greater together.
“We, hereby, call on the security agencies, especially the DSS to fish out these enemies of the state and prosecute them This is because it is only when criminal elements are punished that we can effectively give potency to deterrence.
“We call on Nigerians to help the security agencies with credible information on criminals and their hideouts.”
We cannot leave security matters to security agencies alone. If you see something, say something.”