The State Security Service (SSS) has vowed to crush bandits and other groups causing insecurity in the country.
Spokesperson of the service, Peter Afunanya, stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr Afunanya said the bandits had crossed the red line and as such would face the consequencies.
The SSS statement comes amidst heightened insecurity in the country. Scores of people are killed almost on a daily basis in many parts of the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticised by many Nigerians for his alleged poor handling of the security situation in the region. One of the most scathing criticisms came last week from the JNI, a leading Islamic group in Northern Nigeria led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar.
On Friday, the president’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, disclosed that Mr Buhari had “dispatched a high-level delegation, made up of the heads of the nation’s intelligence and security services to Sokoto and Katsina States in response to the recent spike in bandit activities.”
However, kidnappings and killings by non-state actors still persist in that area days after.
Mr Afunanya also said there was a plot to recruit students who will be going home for vacation into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and financial crimes.
He said aside from students, lawmakers of both national and state houses of assembly who will be going on recess and other public/private sector workers on vacation may be predisposed to threats of various degrees.
“Let me reiterate at this juncture that 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,” Mr Afunanya said.
He also warned politicians, religious and opinion leaders to mind their utterances ahead 2023 general elections, saying the Service would deal decisively with anybody that attempts to destabilise peace of the country.
“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.”
On IPOB and the alleged ill-treatment of its detained leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Mr Afunanya said the Service has, without any fear of contradiction, applied restraint in making public statements over the matter.
He denied what he described as inciting allegations by IPOB, insisting that Mr Kanu enjoys full luxury at their detention facility, incomparable to any of its type anywhere in the country.
“Adequate attention is paid to Kanu’s health. He has unhindered access to the best medical care and doctors. Kanu, himself, has confirmed to his visitors that the Service has never, in any way, maltreated him.
“He even confirmed to the quartet of Senators Ike Ikweremadu and Enyinnaya Abaribe; Bishop Sunday Onuoha of the Methodist Church, Nigeria and Co-Chair, Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace and Ambassador Okechukwu Emuchay, MFR, Secretary-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, who saw him on Wednesday, 8th December, 2021,” he said.
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