By JIDE AJANI, Editor, Northern Operations
ABUJA – THE State Security Service, SSS, yesterday, read what could be described as a Riot Act to sponsors of political violence in the country just as it pledged to accord all political parties a level playing field.
The service which said it has already identified thugs and their sponsors, declared that it was prepared to keep them away from the society.
In a communiqué after a meeting held behind closed doors between the Director General, DG, of the SSS, Ekpenyong Ita, and leaders of political parties, the service said: “The aim of the SSS in this election is to assist all stakeholders to deepen democracy in Nigeria and also strengthen its institutions.
The SSS is determined to assist you all make democracy the only form of government acceptable to all Nigerians.
“However, the emerging trends in the polity are becoming sources of great security concern. The essence of this meeting, therefore, is to work together and map out strategies on how to reduce tension, violence and make the forthcoming elections free, fair and credible.
Issues of security concern
“Some of the issues of security worry include:
Divisive politics which tends to divide instead of unite us.
The penchant of the average politician to fall back to religion as a political tool.
“This is not good enough. The use of violence on political opponent constitutes a great danger to the election. There is also the frightening dimension of introduction of bombing during campaign rallies. There is also an increase in the crime of defacing or outright destruction of campaign posters and offices.
“There is also the problem of several court cases still pending few weeks to the elections; denial of venues by some state governments to the opposition parties; proliferation of arms, and use of hard drugs.”
The SSS then unveiled its plan of action thus:
Provision of security to all parties before, during and after electioneering campaigns and the election proper.
Provision of level playing ground to all political parties in order to ensure a free and fair elections.
“We have identified thugs and their sponsors and we are determined to keep them away from the society.”
Vanguard gathered that the meeting became imperative in the light of disturbing signals received by the organization.
Last week, the SSS arrested two politicians and is still continuing its investigation into the reasons for their arrest.