The State Security Service (SSS) has distanced itself from media reports that it called for the elongation of the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Service made its stance known in a statement on Thursday by its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya.
An online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, had reported that the SSS was backing the continued stay of the president, whose tenure ends on May 29, 2023.
It comes a few days after a senior lawyer, Robert Clarke, in an interview with Arise TV, suggested that the president remains in office for six extra months to address the lingering security challenges.
The Presidency, however, on Tuesday, responded by saying the transfer of power from President Muhammadu Buhari to another democratically elected leader on May 29, 2023, remained sacrosanct.
The Presidency’s position was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, titled ‘May 29 handover is sacrosanct.’
The SSS said the publication,which claimed it was testing “the water for tenure elongation for Buhari” was aimed at maligning the agency and misleading the public.
“Consequently, the DSS disassociates itself from the publication and categorically states that the information is false and obviously fabricated to malign it and mislead the populace,” the statement partly read.
Read full statement:
NO CALL FOR TENURE ELONGATION BY DSS
The attention of the Department of State Services (DSS) has been drawn to a misleading and mischievous publication by SaharaReporters titled Nigeria’s Secret Police, DSS Tests the Water on Tenure Elongation for Buhari, Tells Journalists, CSOs 2023 Elections May Not Hold. In the said report, the Service was accused of informing participants at its April 6th brainstorming session with CSOs/NGOs that the 2023 general elections might not hold due to insecurity. The report further stated that the session was a ruse to sell tenure elongation to the public.
Consequently, the DSS disassociates itself from the publication and categorically states that the information is false and obviously fabricated to malign it and mislead the populace.
It is curious that the session which was applauded and described as innovative by participants including credible Civil Society groups would be misrepresented by SaharaReporters that was neither invited to nor participated in the exercise. The Online paper, in its characteristic gutter journalism, had initially claimed that participants at the session were harassed. When the fake news did not garner the expected attention, it resorted to another gimmick aimed at dragging the Service into an unnecessary term elongation debate.
However, the statement by the Presidency reiterating its definite stance to hand over power to a new president on 29th May 2023, has vindicated the Service and countered the deliberate effort by SaharaReporters to create confusion. While the Service, in the circumstance, aligns with the Presidency, it urges the public to disregard the lies of SaharaReporters and its promoter whose activities are usually antithetical to a decorous environment.
It is common knowledge that SaharaReporters is mischievously desperate and takes delight in promoting negative narratives against Government and its officials. The paper has not only remained biased and sensational in its reportage, it has sustained seditious attacks against security institutions and particularly the Service which may not hesitate to seek legal redress in the face of continued misrepresentation
Meanwhile, politicians and highly placed personalities are advised to desist from making unguarded statements capable of derailing efforts to deepen the country’s democracy as well as mobilise citizens for national unity and stability.
Peter Afunanya, Ph.D, fsi
Public Relations Officer
Department of State Services
12th May, 2022
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