On Saturday, the Lagos data center of the All Progressives Congress was invaded by operatives of the Department of State Service and soldiers. 25 data agents and three security guards were arrested in the process.
The incident was reported by the Sunday Punch, with Nasir El-Rufai retweeting Nigeria Newsdesk’s coverage of the development.
According to the statement issued by the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Lai Mohammed, in early hours of Saturday, “a combined team of men of the DSS and OP-MESA stormed the Bola Ajibola Data Center belonging to the APC in the Ikeja area of Lagos and arrested 25 APC data agents and three security guards. … They came without a search warrant for the premises.
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“Over 50 security operatives drafted from Abuja operations blocked the two major street entrances to the APC data entry center, pulled down the gates and spent over two hours ransacking and vandalising the center. More than a dozen computers were destroyed. The server was also vandalised along with other equipment in the building.”
According to sources, the DSS acted on a tip-off that the center was allegedly being used as a warehouse by a former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, to produce and issue fake Permanent Voter Cards, while another version had it that weapons were being kept at the center.
“They chose to believe the lie that it was a warehouse belonging to one of the national leaders of the party where dangerous weapons were being kept, when in fact it is a centre for entering the data provided by the millions of Nigerians who registered as members of the party (APC) during its membership registration exercise,” Mr. Mohammed’s statement read.
The APC chieftain said the act was part of a ploy by the Peoples Democratic Party-led Federal Government to intimidate the APC ahead of the 2015 elections.
Other APC officials, Nigerian lawmakers have already condemned the action.
DSS Deputy Director, Public Relations, Marilyn Ogar, stated that the service received a petition that the building was being used to clone the Independent National Electoral Commission Permanent Voter Card, adding that the agency carried out an operation to investigate the allegation.
According to her, DSS operatives retrieved a server, three hard drives and 31 ‘Ghana must go’ bags of hard copies of data, adding that a number of people at the office were also arrested.
Ogar stated that the building had no sign to indicate that it was an APC office, noting that investigation had commenced.
“We are being proactive on account of the security situation in the country, you know that the Boko Haram has been targeting Lagos and so, we cannot afford the petition lying low,” she explained when contacted by the Sunday Punch reporters.