2023: Security agencies get marching orders to tackle politicians, parties over electoral violence

NATIONAL Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno has warned that any political party, including the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), that promotes violence in the 2023 general elections will be seriously dealt with.

Monguno stated this while speaking at an emergency security meeting organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja on Friday.

The meeting was predicated on the recent attacks on the INEC offices in Ogun and Ogun, where more than 65,000 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) were destroyed.


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Monguno, who expressed concerns over the continued attack on INEC buildings across the country, told participants at the meeting that President Muhammadu was worried about the ugly trend.

He stated that the President had directed all security agencies through the Office of the NSA to ensure that elections are held in an atmosphere devoid of rancour.

He stressed that security agencies had been given clear-cut instructions to deal with any group or institution planning to disrupt the polls.

“We’re all aware of the fact that the President, as far as he is concerned, is committed to upholding and safeguarding democracy. This is what the people want,” he said.

“The President has also given his directive through me to all the operational intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the 2023 elections are held in an atmosphere devoid of any rancour.

“Now, I want to assure you that security agencies have been given clear-cut instructions to deal with any situation in which any rogue organisation or institution decides to embark on what we consider to be a fundamentally criminal undertaking.

“Any political party, including the party of the President, that wants to have a hand in violence will face the consequences.”

While calling on political parties and politicians to prevail on their supporters to uphold peace and order, the NSA said the President was pleased with the outcome of the just concluded off-cycle elections in Ekiti and Osun states and has expressed his earnest desire to replicate the same across the country next year.

“Now, for those people who control these groups that have a tendency for unleashing violence, those people who have gangsters working for them, I want to send a very clear categorical and unequivocal warning, regardless of any party, including the party of the President. For as long as you decide to scatter the election process, the law enforcement agencies will be uninhibited and equally visit you with the consequences of whatever actions you take.

“Those people who have a history of organising and controlling groups, please re-assess, re-evaluate. Hold your people and advise them that as long as they behave in a manner that suggests non-compliance with the election laws, they will be held accountable.

“Therefore, it is important to call the people under your control, those thugs, those bloodthirsty-trigger-happy, straining-at-the-leash, foaming-at-the-mouth, desperate to harm the election process — they will be brought to law. Already, intelligence agencies have been tracking these people. This I can guarantee you.

“Have a nice, quiet fireside chat with them and tell them to lay down whatever plans they have because whoever wins in any state, whichever party wins, has won. This is the intention of the President of this country. There will be no excuse whatsoever.

“So, if you think you can stretch security agencies, I think you’re making a mistake. You will be brought to book. If you think we have a history of not following through with whatever instructions given to us, I think this time you will be in for a real shocker.”






     

     

    INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu expressed worry over the growing trend of attacks on the Commission’s facilities, urging “urgent and decisive steps” to curtail the situation.

    “Nigerians are watching us. The world is watching us. We must never disappoint them. The attempt to sabotage or weaken our resolve will not deter us from conducting transparent elections in which only the votes cast by Nigerians will determine winners of elections,” he said.

    The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Usman Baba, who was also at the event, said some arrests have already been made in connection with the attacks on INEC offices, adding that investigations are ongoing.

    Security chiefs present at the meeting include the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) Yusuf Bichi and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ahmed Abubakar.

    You can reach out to me on Twitter via: vincent_ufuoma

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