Citing terrorist threats during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the police yesterday jointly asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to postpone Saturday governorship election in Edo State.
At a joint media briefing, which lasted less than five minutes at DSS headquarters in Abuja on Wednesday, police spokesman Don Awunah and Garba Abdullahi of DSS stated that the move became necessary because of intelligence reports about insurgents’ plans.
Abdullahi and Awunah, who read a prepared one-page text on behalf of the two security agencies, refused to take questions from reporters.
“The Nigeria Police and Department of State Services wish to inform the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies indicate plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th September, 2016.
“Edo state is amongst the states being earmarked for these planned attacks by the extremist elements.” Awunah stated, emphasising that the issue deserves to be treated with seriousness.
“The public would recall that similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as Eid-el-fitr holidays in July, 2016.
“However, security agencies were able to decisively disrupt and thwart the insurgents’ plan.
“In the same vein, while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the county to be disrupted, and we will continue to remain vigilant and ensure consolidation of the successes gained in the current counter-insurgency fight.
“It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC, which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country, to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.
“While the police/DSS remain mindful of the inconveniences this request may cause the various political stakeholders, it is our strong resolve that security agencies need not be distracted from ensuring a peaceful and secured Nigeria now and always,” he stated.
Both agencies requested that the public should complement security agencies’ commitment by being vigilant and report any unusual movements or actions by any group or individuals.