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Sunday, February 25, 2024

DSS denies plot to arrest INEC Chairman

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The Department of State Services (DSS) has refuted claims that it was seeking a court order to arrest the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. 

Spokesperson of the secret police, Peter Afunanya, in a statement yesterday, said a newspaper report alleging that a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court bars the agency from arresting the INEC Chairman skewed what transpired at the Court and reported it out of context. 

Recall that an FCT High Court had stopped an application seeking to remove Yakubu from office over alleged false asset declaration.

The ruling followed an originating summons marked FCT/HC/GAR/CV/47/2022 by Somadina Uzoabaka against the Attorney General of the Federation and Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, seeking among other things, an order of mandatory injunction directing and compelling the INEC chairman to recuse, excuse and exclude himself and or step down as the chairman of INEC pending the investigation and consideration of the various allegations against him by the various law enforcement agencies.

Additionally, the complainant asked the judge to issue a 10-year ban on Yakubu from holding or assuming any public position.

But Yakubu refuted the claim by providing the court with several exhibits to demonstrate the sources of funding for the acquisition of the properties that the plaintiff claimed were illegally acquired, arguing that his asset declaration was legitimately completed. 

Reacting, Afunanya said: “The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to a January 5, 2023 online publication by the Daily Trust in which it reported that *“Court Stops DSS from Arresting INEC Chairman”*

“The Service has discovered that the newspaper skewed what transpired at the Court and reported it out of context. 

“It is against this backdrop that the Service pointed out its disapproval to the Editorial authorities of the Newspaper. The outfit, which though argued that what was reported in its online version was different from the hard copy, promised to address the concerns raised but did not. 

“This statement, however, becomes important to guide public understanding and perception, especially that the said report is misleading. It falsely left an impression that the Service went to Court against the INEC Chairman.”

“Nonetheless, the Service is aware of the antics of some mischievous elements who are desirous of fomenting crisis in the country, including creating unnecessary controversies around the forthcoming general elections. One of their strategies is to subvert the efforts of the Service in ensuring peaceful coexistence and harmony.

“Another is a determination to overheat the polity and subtly exploit the judiciary to distract or even undermine not only the Service but other security and law enforcement agencies from undertaking their constitutional roles. 

“The DSS, therefore, warns these individuals and groups to desist from their devious plans.  It also advises all critical stakeholders to be vigilant and resist attempts to use them to thwart the law. While assuring Nigerians and the international community of the Service’s commitment to the maintenance of law and order, including an accomplishment of a free and fair 2023 election as already pledged by Mr. President and Commander-in-Chief, the Service urges all and sundry to join in the pursuit of national stability and unity.”

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