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April 1, 2023

Govs to DSS: Arrest interim government plotters, stop heating up polity

Govs to DSS: Arrest interim government plotters, stop heating up polity

By Henry Umoru

•Vow to resist the move

THE thirty- six state governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have asked the Department of State Services, DSS to immediately arrest and prosecute those it has identified to be planning to install an interim government rather than issuing statements and heating up the polity.

The governors who condemned any unconstitutional means of regime change, however, vowed to resist the such move, just as they assured their commitment to continue in the defence of Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.

In a Communique read yesterday by NGF Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal at the end of the 4th meeting of the governors, they warned the DSS against issuing statements without arrest as that amounts to heating the polity.

The governors while acknowledging that “the last election was not perfect”, however, said, “we will take advantage of the learning points to strengthen our democracy and electoral processes. The Forum also congratulated its members who were re-elected for a 2nd term in office.

According to the governors’ communique: “The Forum deliberated extensively on the alleged plot by some unscrupulous elements to install an interim government, as contained in the recent statement issued by the Department for State Services (DSS). Governors condemned in the strongest terms, any unconstitutional means of regime change and pledged their commitment to continue to defend Nigeria’s democracy as elected leaders.

“In addition, the Forum believes that issuing statements without arrests is akin to heating up the polity and causing unwarranted tension in the country. It called on the DSS to do its job by immediately arresting and prosecuting all those involved in the plot as a matter of urgency. It will be recalled that the DSS had on Wednesday confirmed rumours that a section of the political class was planning for an interim government.

A spokesman for the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya in a statement said that the agency had identified some key players in the plot for an Interim Government in Nigeria but did not give the names of the masterminds.

The agency had said that the planners of the interim government had already held several meetings, during which they weighed many options to actualize their plot including sponsoring endless mass protests across Nigerian cities, securing a warrant to declare a state of emergency or a court injunction to stop the inauguration of the executive and the legislature at the federal and state levels.

Meanwhile, the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, on Friday, urged the Department of State Services to name and prosecute those allegedly plotting to disrupt the nation’s peace and install an interim government.

IPAC National Chairman, Engr Yabagi Sani, made the call while briefing journalists after an emergency General Assembly meeting of the Council held at its national secretariat in Abuja.

According to him, the secret police must go beyond raising the allegation by naming as well as arraigning the supposed masterminds at a competent court of law to serve as a deterrent to others who may wish to tow the same line.

He said: “Conscious of the need for reconciliation, healing, political stability, national unity, peace, cohesion and desire to preserve our hard-earned democracy after the contentious 2023 general election, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) condemns in strong terms the call and plot to install an interim government in Nigeria. It is a civilian coup, treason, absolutely unconstitutional, undemocratic and unacceptable.

“IPAC rejects any attempt to scuttle, subvert and truncate the nation’s emerging democracy by reactionary and retrogressive forces. It is an attempt to overheat the polity, cause confusion, political upheavals, impasse and quagmire as was the case in the infamous annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election that necessitated the hasty set up of an interim government by General Ibrahim Babangida which was headed by Chief Ernest Shonekan in August 1993. “The court declared it illegal and the interim national government was overthrown by General Sani Abacha in November same year.

“Council notes the statement by the Department of State Service (DSS) that it has uncovered a plot by some persons to violently disrupt the nation’s peace and install an interim government.

“Council demands that the country’s intelligence service should name the plotters, arrest and prosecute them in accordance with the law of the land to serve as a deterrent to others who would resort to self-help to achieve their selfish political ambitions.”
Sani also urged all aggrieved political parties, their candidates and supporters to eschew violence in all its ramifications and seek redress in court for perceived infractions and irregularities in the conduct of the 2023 general election.

“Council further urged the Judiciary to dispense justice without fear or favour as the temple of justice and last hope of all aggrieved persons.

“All eyes are on the Judiciary to justify the confidence the people reposed in it by upholding the rule of law. That is the only way to assuage the anger in the land and maintain the sanctity of the ballot box,” he added.

IPAC lauded Prof. Nnenna Nwannaya-Oti, the INEC’s Returning Officer in the just concluded Governorship and House of Assembly elections held on 18th March 2023, in Abia State for what it described as ‘her exemplary conduct and very impressive performance in the exercise.’

“Council’s commendation is predicated upon her ability to rise above the pressure and deliver on her statutory mandate without fear or favour, and hope that others can emulate this virtue of integrity, which is lacking among some public officers put in the position of trust,” he stressed.