FG uncovers APC plan to hack into INEC database - DSS …findings hogwash, embarrassing, says Lai Mohammed

By The Citizen

The Department of State Services (DSS) has said that its investigations indicated that the All Progressives Congress (APC) had plans to hack into the database of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The Deputy Director, Public Relations, DSS, Marilyn Ogar explained at a news conference on Wednesday in Abuja that the confessions from the staff arrested at the APC office at 10,Bola Ajibola Street, Ikeja, and the items retrieved from the building showed that the party had an elaborate plan to hack into the commission's database and inflate the number of its membership.

However, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed as hogwash the so-called findings of the DSS following its Gestapo-like raid on the party's offices in Lagos, saying the 'findings' presented to the media by the agency on Wednesday is a great disservice to Nigeria and an embarrassment to all intelligence-gathering organizations around the world.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also described the timing of the release of the 'findings' as a plot orchestrated in collusion with the PDP to distract the APC from its ongoing campaigns for next month's elections.

It described as disingenuous, flimsy, premeditated, partisan and an irritant the conclusion that the APC had an 'articulated plan to inflate the party's membership data as well as hack into INEC's voter registration database through the creation of party membership forms and cards to match INEC's voters register across the country'.

'First the DSS and the PDP said the APC was cloning Permanent Voters Cards at the raided office, without a shred of evidence. Now, after a 'painstaking' investigation, the DSS has found out that the APC was only planning to inflate its membership data and then hack into INEC's database. And this is the outcome of its massive, months-long investigations?

'This would have been funny if it were not from a primary domestic intelligence agency saddled with a great responsibility. Can this wishy-washy report stand any serious scrutiny? Can any serious intelligence gathering agency anywhere else in the world take this report seriously? With these kind of findings, one can now understand why Boko Haram has continued to strike at times and places of its own choosing without any prior knowledge by our all-powerful DSS.

'Even the presentation of the report by a poorly-trained and highly-politicized spokesperson of the DSS worsened the so-called findings. Why would the spokesperson of a national agency sound like a megaphone for the ruling party, freely castigating the opposition spokesman and 'a number of uninformed members of the public'? Why does she have to go personal in presenting a report that supposedly is in the national interest?

'We have always warned that our democracy is in clear and present danger, not just from desperate politicians, but also from institutions of state that have compromised in their roles and resorted to crass lawlessness. The DSS' 'findings' today have given us another reason to repeat this warning.

'While we are willing to meet the DSS in court, we can confidently say that the 'confessions' extracted from the arrested persons, after they were subjected to incredible acts of torture, cannot even stand in any court of law,' APC said.

The party recalled that in its statement of Dec. 5th 2014, it accused the DSS of resorting to the use of torture to obtain forced confessions from those who were arrested during the first raid on the party's Data Centre in Ikeja.

'In that statement, we called the action of the DSS a contravention of the UN Convention against Torture to which Nigeria is a signatory and a violation of the citizens' fundamental human rights.

'We also said the DSS shackled the hands and legs of those arrested and blindfolded them while they were being taken to Abuja. The arrested persons remained in chains even at the dark detention cell where they were made to sleep on the bare floor for the 10 days they were detained illegally.

'Guns were pointed at their heads by DSS personnel who threatened to shoot them, while a pregnant woman among those who were arrested was denied access to her drugs even when she started bleeding due to the torture to which she was subjected by the DSS. Now the DSS has confirmed what we said in that press statement. Is anyone still surprised at the action of countries that are distancing themselves from Nigeria over human rights violations?' it queried.

APC said the impending release of the 'great findings' by the DSS after its investigations must have been the reason why the agency recently threatened it would arrest any politician who makes inciting comments, implying that the DSS needed to silence all so that no one will dare criticize its 'earth-shaking 'findings'.'