Election petitions: Play by the rules or face consequences –DSS

Abuja May 12, 2019

The Department of State Services (DSS) has advised political parties and candidates before the election petition tribunals, to abide by the rule of law while the hearings of the electoral disputes last.

The DSS, however, warned that the full weight of the law will be brought to bear on anyone or group found to engage in acts that offend the due process of law. The Service handed down the warning yesterday in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Peter Afunanya.

According to the secret police, the admonition became compelling against the backdrop of a publication (not Sunday Telegraph) alleging that the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Bulkachuka, had been indicted for bribery.

The DSS was said to have purportedly indicted the PCA, who doubles as the Chairman of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, in the said publication. But, the Service has “dissociated” itself from the report, even as it enjoined the public to disregard same.

This was as it added that a full scale investigation into the report, while urging the media to ensure “professionalism” at all times. “The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to dissociate itself from a recent publication which claimed that the Chairman of the Presidential Election Tribunal, Justice Zainab Bulkachiwa, was purportedly indicted for bribery and corruption by a certain Secret Memo of the Service. “Consequently, the DSS categorically states that the said Memo only exists in the imagination of the writers and should be roundly disregarded by the reading public.

“It is unfortunate that the newspaper followed unethical ways to publish this falsehood. It is rather curious and indeed condemnable that the newspaper did not reach out to the Service for its comments as would have been expected in a reportage of this nature.

“The Service has, nonetheless, launched a detailed investigation into the controversies surrounding the said publication “It is the wish of the Service that it is left out of the manoeuvres of politicians who are hereby advised to abide by the rule of law and respect the entire process of electoral litigations regarding the activities of the tribunal,” Afunanya said. He added: “While it (the Service) will continue to collaborate with the media as strategic partners in nation building, it admonishes practitioners to be lawful and professional in the execution of their responsibility. “However, mischief makers, intent on causing disaffection in the polity are warned to desist from such acts as the full weight of the law will be visited on defaulters.

“The DSS remains unwavering in providing the enabling environment for the pursuit of legitimate aspirations by well-meaning and law abiding members of the populace”.