Some civil society organizations have raised concerns over the sudden alarm raised by the Department of State Services (DSS) claiming that unnamed individuals are planning to stage violent protests in the country shortly after the Appeal Court communicated the judgment date to political parties and candidates that are challenging the declaration of Bola Tinubu as the validly elected Nigeria’s president.
The CSOs namely the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, the Civil Liberties Organisation, and the South-East Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Organisations, in a joint press statement, described the alarm as nothing short of a case of leakage and confirmed that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal would dismiss the petitions filed by opposition parties challenging the election of Tinubu on “technical grounds”.
DSS in the release by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, had stated that its intelligence reports indicated that the plotters include certain politicians who are desperately mobilizing unsuspecting student leaders, ethnic-based associations, youths, and disgruntled groups for the planned action.
SaharaReporters also reported that the DSS alarm came shortly before the Court of Appeal officially announced that the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal would deliver judgment on petitions challenging Bola Tinubu’s election victory on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.
Reacting to the report the CSOs slammed the DSS, adding that the alarm was ill-conceived and politically motivated, adding that it already cast a serious doubt on the neutrality, impartiality, and credibility of the long-awaited judgment of the presidential election tribunal.
Signed by principal officers of these Civil Society Organisations – Emeka Umeagbalasi (Intersociety), Comrade Aloysius Attah (South-East CLO), Prof Jerry Chukwuokoro (South-East Rights and Democracy Coalition), the CSOs explained that the alarm had further raised a serious question mark on the integrity and independence of the five justices of the Court of Appeal handling the case.
According to statement, “The alarm by the DSS is correctly logically interpreted to mean that while the PEPT transited its information to the Parties to the case of its readiness to deliver its verdict on Wednesday, Sept 6, 2023, it turned around and leaked the Panel’s verdict outcome to the Executive Arm in the present Government of Nigeria including its internal and external spy police establishments particularly the DSS; warranting its ill-conceived and politically motivated panicky and intimidating alarm.
“The DSS, therefore, was chronically illiterate in its handling of the subject matter under discourse. For purposes of neutrality, impartiality, credibility, safety, and popularity of the long-awaited Judgment, the DSS ought not to have issued the alarm and if it reasonably, credibly, and neutrally suspected any planned “violent protest” in connection with the long-awaited judgment, it would have been literately and credibly handled by sharing such intelligence with other security agencies without publicity and creation of panics and fears borne out of desperation, partisanship, repression and abuse of statutorily and constitutionally delegated responsibilities.
“With the DSS alarm, therefore, it is most likely correct to say that the 2023 Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal has already told Nigerians and international watchers through the DSS the direction of its long-awaited Judgment: “dismissal of the case on the grounds of technicalities; devoid of meritorious consideration.”