By Umar Muhammad Puma
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the Department of State Services (DSS) of crass partisanship and unprofessional conduct over its actions and comments on the recent election in Osun State.
In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the spokesperson for the agency, Ms. Marilyn Ogar, should be properly trained and given the necessary exposure so she can speak with knowledge and facts, instead of making baseless and incautious statements.
‘’It is sad that a spokesperson for the DSS does not know there is no offence called ‘loitering’ under Nigerian laws. For her to now go on national television to say the APC’s National Publicity Secretary was arrested for ‘loitering’ in Osogbo on the eve of the state’s governorship election is the height of ignorance and constitutes a great embarrassment to DSS.
‘’It is even worse that the so-called spokesperson, ever so glib, would make a joke out of such a faux pas by an agency that is supposed to be non-partisan and highly professionalized. How on earth can any human being not be disoriented when 15 hooded gunmen arrest him/her and point their weapons at his/her head as they did to me on that night in Osogbo?
‘’How can a spokesperson for such a sensitive government agency not understand that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for freedom of movement? On what basis is Ms. Ogar questioning what the APC’s National Publicity Secretary was doing in Osun, when the same fellow has not questioned the presence of Musiliu Obanikoro, Chris Uba and the likes in the same state. Or are those people from Osun State?
‘’Was it not publicly announced that the APC was moving its headquarters to Osun to give support for Gov. Rauf Aregbesola? Why didn’t Ms. Ogar question the presence of President Goodluck Jonathan or Vice President Namadi Sambo in Osun when they came too, if she was being fair? It is sad that Ms. Ogar has turned herself to the spokesperson of the PDP by echoing what that party has said on the Osun election. This is unprofessional and irresponsible,’’ it said.
APC said by spearheading the mass arrest of its leaders and members in Osun before and during the Aug. 9th governorship election in the state, and by preventing the rally planned by the NLC in support of Gov. Aregbesola from holding, the DSS has decided to pitch its tent with the PDP instead of staying neutral.
The party said the questions to ask Ms. Ogar are: ‘’How many PDP leaders were arrested in Osun? If the rally by the NLC had been planned in support of the PDP candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, would the DSS have aborted it? Why must the DSS send hooded gunmen to police an election that is a civic matter? Does Ms.Ogar bother to read and understand the Nigerian constitution to know the rights of the citizens?’’
It described as tissue of lies the allegation by Ms. Ogar that the party tried to bribe the DSS with 14 million Naira before the Osun election, wondering why the DSS did not arrest the official who offered the alleged bribe.
‘’Apparently, Ms. Ogar has never heard of a ‘sting operation’ that is widely used by security agencies to catch a person who is committing a crime. The allegation by Ms. Ogar would have been sweet in her mouth had the DSS mounted a sting operation to catch whoever was offering the alleged bribe, and then prosecute him or her,’’ the party said, calling the allegation cheap blackmail by a conspiratorial organization.