Plans underway to incite religious violence in Lagos, Kano, S/E, others—SSS

The State Security Service (SSS) say there are plans by undesirable elements working with external forces to incite religious violence across Nigeria.

Peter Afunanya, SSS spokesman, stated this in a statement issued on Monday.

Afunanya said that Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Rivers, Oyo, Lagos and states in the South-East would be majorly affected by the violence.

“The DSS wishes to alert the public about plans by some elements working with external forces to incite religious violence across the country,” he said.

“Targeted States include Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Rivers, Oyo, Lagos and those in the South East.

“Part of the plans is to cause inter-religious conflicts as well as use their foot soldiers to attack some worship centres, religious leaders, personalities, key and vulnerable points.”

He urged Nigerians to shun divisive tendencies aimed at creating violence, stating that his agency would work with sister institutions to maintain law and order across the country.

“Consequently, Nigerians are advised to be wary of these antics and shun all divisive tendencies aimed at inciting or setting them against one another.

“While the Service pledges to collaborate with sister agencies to ensure that public order is maintained, those hatching these plots are warned to desist from such in the interest of peace, security and development of the country.

“However, law-abiding citizens (and residents) are encouraged to report suspected breaches of peace around them to the nearest security agencies.”

In December, the DSS had raised a similar security alert, stating that there were plots by some criminal elements to bomb some selected places during the yuletide through the use of explosives, suicide bombing and other dangerous weapons.

Also, in December 2020, the United States named Nigeria for the second time as one of the Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) under its International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, indicting the country for tolerating religious persecution.

Read alsoSSS illegally detains victim for 14 months without trial, allegedly defies AGF’s order

In December 2019, Nigeria was added alongside Comoros, Russia, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan on a Special Watch List (SWL) for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom,” by the US following a report by the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).






     

     

    According to the report, religious freedom in Nigeria trended negatively in 2018. It accused the Nigerian government at the national and state levels of continuing to tolerate violence and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, and suppressing the freedom to manifest religion or belief.

    It noted that religious sectarian violence increased during the year, with Muslims and Christians attacked based on their religious and ethnic identities. It further accused Nigeria’s federal government of failing to implement effective strategies to prevent or stop such violence or to hold perpetrators accountable.

    The report by USCIRF said that Boko-Haram and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-West Africa (ISIS-WA) had continued to perpetrate attacks against civilians and the military throughout the year, despite Nigerian government’s claims of progress in defeating them.

    In addition, members of the military and the civilian joint task force in Borno were accused of human rights violations against civilians displaced by conflicts.

     

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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