DSS denies intimidating voters, INEC officials

The Department of State Services has denied the allegations that  its officers  intimidated voters and the Independent National Electoral Commission  workers during the 2019 general elections.

The United States Government   had said it  had  evidence that  DSS  officers and soldiers intimidated voters, INEC officials  and  election observers during the  elections.

The US also claimed the judiciary was still susceptible to intimidation by the executive and the legislative arms of government, adding that there was corruption in the judiciary, making  it  difficult  for the judges  to function independently.

These observations are contained in the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Nigeria released by the US Department of State on Wednesday.

The report said, “For example, widespread violence and military involvement in electoral processes, including during the vote collation process, significantly scarred the governorship election in Rivers State. Additionally several of INEC’s resident electoral commissioners reported DSS operatives intimidated them when the RECs attempted to protect voting materials. Some RECs reported security service personnel visited them multiple times prior to the elections.”

However, the  Public Relations Officer of the body, Peter Afunanya, insisted they performed their   duties professionally during the polls.

Afunanya  said, “The DSS regularly sticks to its mandatory role of detecting and preventing crimes/threats against the internal security of Nigeria.

“It was at the forefront of establishing the Interagency Consultative Committee on Electoral Security and ensured that elections in Nigeria were conducted in line with the electoral laws and that the exercises were conducted orderly.”
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