Mend threat: Nigerians should be vigilant-Police

2011-03-20
THE PUNCH Newspaper

THE Police have called on Nigerians to be more vigilant in their daily activities.



The warning from the Police followed a threat by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, asking Nigerians to steer clear of political gatherings in Lagos, Abuja and Niger Delta.



The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Olusola Amore, who stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Friday, added that though Nigerians should not buy into the threat, they should be more security conscious in their day-to-day activities.



The threat, he said, could cause panic among the populace, adding that security agencies were already collaborating in order to make sure that Nigerians were safe wherever they were.



Amore said, “We want Nigerians to be more vigilant in whatever they do and wherever they found themselves. Though we believe that the threat could make Nigerians panic, they should not.



“Rather, we call on them to go about their normal duties; and be ready to volunteer information to the Police because we cannot do much without information.



“Useful information will help us in our intelligence gathering and I am assuring the people that the police will protect anyone who gives us information.



“Already, all security agencies are working together to make sure that we protect lives and property of Nigerians and anyone living in the country.



“We may not be able to disclose our security measures on the pages of newspapers, but we are assuring politicians that we are going to protect them and all those that are attending political gatherings.”



Reacting also, the Congress for Progressive Change said it was a shame that an organsisation like MEND would take Nigeria up and tear it to shreds, declaring that the threat would not in any way stop its candidates from continuing with the ongoing electioneering in the country.



Speaking through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Fashakin, the party said, “We will continue with our campaigns, and security will be the number one item on our agenda. The Peoples Democratic Party has failed the nation. It has made us prostrate and a laughing stock among nations of the world.”



He added that this was not a period for the nation to be happy because of the sense of insecurity.



He alleged that while the Department of State Security Service was hounding innocent politicians in pursuit of the agenda of the Peoples Democratic Party, MEND had carried on with impunity.



Fashakin said, “In Suleja, after the explosions, one of our candidates has been held by the State Security Service, but they cannot stop MEND. It shows the level of incompetence of the SSS. We don’t even know if he is alive or dead. The whole game plan is to keep him from circulation so that he will not reach out to the people to campaign,” he said.



He said the SSS had not been able to penetrate and disband MEND that gave warnings about its attacks, but it went after ordinary Nigerians.



“We just hope the President will not come out again and say that it is not MEND that issued the threat,” Fashakin added.



Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Mr. Lai Mohammed, said the Federal Government had adopted a wrong approach in dealing with MEND.



Mohammed said the threat had made everyone in the country a ‘sitting duck,’ adding that even though MEND should not be glorified; the FG should be more proactive about the issue.



He said, “ACN does not have the capacity to protect anyone. The constitution gives the exclusive right of protection to the FG. Even though we appreciate the assurance of the FG, MEND has shown in recent past that they are capable of outmanoeuvring agencies.



“Don’t forget that they are not a conventional army and they have the element of surprise. The FG should enter into a dialogue with them and they should be treated with diplomacy.”



The ANPP Spokesman, Emma Enukwu, expressed fears that MEND if not checked could scuttle the April elections.



He explained, “What can ANPP do if PDP that is running the government cannot stop MEND? It shows that the government cannot guarantee safe elections. If they can blow up pipelines, nothing is impossible. I however appeal that MEND should shun violence. What the members of the group need to do is vote in credible leaders that will solve all the challenges we have.”



However, the Labour Party through its National Chairman, Mr. Dan Nwanyanwu, refused to comment on the threat, saying it was up to the security agencies to do what was necessary and right.



He said it was not the duty of the parties to teach the security agencies how to do their job.



“I don’t even want to comment on it. They have their own system. They know what to do,” he said.



He, nonetheless, said the party’s campaigns were going on despite the threat.









 

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