*Reels out criminal elements arrested in Anambra, Lagos, Zamfara and Ogun states
*Says assorted arms and ammunition recovered from criminal gangs
By Eze Chidozie
The Department of State Services (DSS) has assured of peaceful conduct of the general elections, stressing that it has tightened the nose against criminal elements who intend to formet trouble during the exercise.
At a joint press conference of security forces in Abuja, DSS equally pledged its “neutrality, professionalism and good conduct of its personnel to the democratic process”.
It added that “it will continue to discharge its mandate of disseminating timely, actionable and proactive intelligence necessary for tactical, operational and strategic decisions even beyond the elections”.
Similarly, it promises to “partner with other sister security and law enforcement agencies; all levels and arms of Government and indeed all stakeholders particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and relevant Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations to ensure a hitch free electoral exercise”.
It called on Nigerians and residents to be law abiding before, during and after the elections, advising eligible voters to cast their votes without any form of violence and also maintain the peace after that.
To achieve the desired environment for the elections, the Service said it engaged in proactive and intelligence-led operations across the states, leading to the arrest of some criminal elements and impounded dangerous weapons they had already acquired for sinister purposes.
“For instance, on 22nd February, 2023, the Service conducted a legally backed search operation on a property along Airport Road, Nasarawa LGA, Kano State.
“During the operation, it recovered dangerous weapons including a gun, daggers, swords, jack-knives from the said building.
“Therefore, the accusation that the Service intimidated a particular political party in that state is untrue; otherwise, how come those weapons were found there? Are those objects of violence campaign materials,” Dr. Peter Afunanya, Public RelationsOfficer, DSS, stated in a follow-up statement.
He added that “whether in Kano or elsewhere, the DSS has provided equal opportunities for all political parties to engage in their lawful activities. We can say this without any form of contradictions or equivocations”.
He added that “on the same 22nd February, 2023, the Service arrested a gunrunner, Aliyu Yahaya, an associate of Kachalla Damina, a suspected bandit who operates around Dansadau, Zamfara State.
“Items recovered from Yahaya included: one GPMG Rifle; one chain of ammunition, 190 rounds of GMPG ammunition, 28 rounds of AK47 ammunition and one grenade.
“The suspect was going to deliver the armaments to Damina when he was arrested,” he said.
He added that “in Kaduna state, two arm couriers namely, Tukur Usman and Illiyasu Adamu, were arrested at Chikun LGA, on 20th February, 2023.
“372 rounds of 7.62 X 39mm ammunition; 26 rounds of live ammunition for GPMG rifle were recovered from them.
“The duo were suspected arm suppliers to bandits in Zamfara State.
“Earlier, on 22nd January, 2023, the duo of Shafíu Usman and Ahmed Nasiru, were arrested on the Barkin Ladi-Pankshin Road, Plateau State while on transit to deliver ammunitions to their customers.
“612 rounds of ammunition for GPMG-120 and AK-492 concealed in a bag of rice were seized from them”.
He also stated the arrest in Asaba, Delta State, of one Fajuwon Isaac, who was in possession of 4,503 rounds of pump action rifle ammunition among others’ just as in Anambra State, the Service arrested the quartet of Sunday Muokwue, Oforjeri Osita, Ude Bernard John and Okechukwu Emeka and recovered among others from them, one AK-47, 3,985 rounds of AK-47 ammunition.
In Sagamu, Ogun State, “the Service is working with relevant agencies to bring those behind the violent protest to book.
“After due investigations, all the suspects will be charged to court”.
He further said the Service has engaged stakeholders including the Media, Faith and Community Based Organisations, Civil Society and others as part of its non-kinetic strategies to maintain peace and public order before, during and after the elections.
Afunanya warned terrorists, kidnappers, hostage takers or outlawed violent separatist agitators and their likes to halt their nefarious activities.
He promised that “the DSS will be fair, objective, transparent and accountable,” as well as abide by the president’s directive to be “Firm and Courageous.
“It will abide by the rule of law and comply with the tenets of democracy. The Service will be decisive in the implementation of its responsibilities and this will be done without let or hindrance,” he stated.