From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has raised the alarm that the PDP-led federal government has started terrorizing and intimidating the peaceful people of Osun State, with a view to cowing them ahead of the Aug. 9th governorship election in the state.
In a statement issued in Lagos at the weekend by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party wondered why the FG will send agents of the Department of State Services (DSS), some of them masked and clad in black, to the state to harass innocent citizens in an unprovoked and primitive show of power that can 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.
“Residents who were visibly traumatized by the shameful display of state power ran helter-skelter and wondered why their government has 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,’’ it said.
APC said information at its disposal shows that 5,000 more DSS men are 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.
“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?’’ the party queried.
It reminded the DSS officials that the guns they were using to terrorize the people of Osun were given to them by taxpayers, and that they were indeed trained at the expense of taxpayers, hence it is 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 are designed solely to scare people away from the polling booths and provide the necessary atmosphere for electoral malfeasance, which the PDP candidate believes is the only way he can win on Aug. 9th.
The party said it would not accept the same hear-no-evil, see-no-evil disposition of President Jonathan, who on one hand will 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.