The Department of State Services (DSS) has warned parents and guidance to be weary of subversive gangs targetting students and youths for recruitment for undesirable intents as they return home for the holidays.
DSS Public Relatiown Officer (PRO), Dr. Peter Afunanya, handed down the warning while addressing a press briefing, Tuesday, at the DSS Headquarters, Abuja.
“The importance of this press briefing is to partner with you to inform the public to be mindful of groups and individuals desirous of causing a breakdown of law and order in the country.
“This is more so that the Service has observed that some persons who are desperately seeking for power use wrong and skewed narratives to not only mislead citizens but overheat the polity.
“Already, they are exploiting and politicising the issue of insecurity in parts of the country for pecuniary and other selfish reasons. Many simply want to use the situation to cause divisions among citizens, seek cheap popularity and/or present the country as ungovernable.
“The Service therefore warns that those who are involved in these should desist from such destabilising acts. It also enjoins politicians to play by the rule and avoid statements or activities capable of inflaming the fires of division and violence prior to 2023 elections.
“Opinion moulders like the clergy, religious and traditional rulers are also to guard their utterances and avoid inciting pronouncements.”
Speaking further he said, “As schools vacate and students return home for holidays, there is likelihood that subversive gangs will target them for recruitment for undesirable intents. These may include but not limited to financial crimes, armed robbery, civil disobedience and violent protests, substance abuse, banditry and kidnapping.
“In this respect, parents and guardians are advised to be watchful of their children and wards and ensure that they do not engage in unlawful acts.
Aside students, recessing members of National Assembly/State Houses of Assembly and other public/private sector workers on vacation may be predisposed to threats of various degrees.
“This also applies to Nigerians who may travel from within and outside the country to join their loved ones for the celebrations. These individuals are susceptible to kidnapping, hijack, assassinations, armed robbery and political manipulations. They are advised to be security conscious in order not to fall victims of these attacks and destructive political maneuvers.”
Afunanya further noted, “… those who sponsor kidnapping, banditry, terrorism, insurgency and all kinds of attacks on security agents, civilians and vulnerable populations should have a rethink.
“These persons, whether in the North or South, know themselves. There is no doubt that they have crossed the lines and it is now time to crush them.”
He also noted that, “It is common knowledge that criminal elements will heighten their inglorious activities before, during and after the festive periods. Therefore, religious and community leaders, hoteliers and operators of markets, parks, recreational and relaxation centres are to be at alert and watch strange movements and activities around their facilities.
Such facilities include places of worship, palaces, markets, schools and other public buildings.
“Owners and operators of these public spaces and their patrons should endeavour to isolate and report suspected rogues to security agencies for prompt response. “Consequently, the Service’s interactive website and complaint lines will remain active and available to the public. Its formations at the State and local Government levels will be open 24 hours of the day. This is in line with the Service’s commitment and support to the populace.”
The Spokesperson added that,
“Overall, citizens and residents are advised to cooperate with security and law enforcement agencies for lasting peace in the country. They should be wary of efforts designed from within and outside the shores of the country to misdirect or use them to undermine public order. Therefore, they should exercise caution in the way and manner they may conduct their affairs during the festivities and beyond.
“On its part, the Service will continue to collaborate with other sister agencies and relevant stakeholders to ensure that all law abiding citizens and residents pursue their legitimate businesses without hindrances.
“While it has become expedient to issue these warnings and advisories, the Service maintains that it will not hesitate to deal, in accordance with the law, with those who may wish to test its resolve in ensuring internal security and national stability before, during and after the yuletide.
“For those that wish to, they must note that nemesis and the long hands of the law will definitely catch up with them. For emphasis, no one, no matter how highly placed, will be allowed to take laws into his or her hands.”