WorldStage Newsonline—About four months before the general elections in Nigeria, security agencies have issued clear instructions to deal with any situation that threatens the public peace.
National Security Advisor (NSA), Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd) said, “I am aware of the fact that in just one month, from October 8 to November 9, we had 52 cases of violence in 22 states of the federation. It’s a bad signal. It’s something we don’t want to continue. This is something that will cause a lot of complications.
There have recently been attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), including the local administration offices of INEC at Abeokuta South in Ogun State and the administration office local Ede South in Osun State and physical attacks at ongoing political rallies prompted an emergency meeting with the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at INEC headquarters in Abuja.
While President Buhari commended INEC for the successful elections held in Osun, Ekiti and Anambra states and urged the commission to replicate them in the 2023 elections, Major General. Monguno (rtd), said: “The security agency has been given clear instructions to anticipate and deal with any group or organization or institution that decides to embark on what we consider to be a fundamental criminal enterprise. What matters is that every Nigerian be allowed to vote and those votes should count.
“We are all aware that the president, as far as he is concerned, is committed to maintaining and safeguarding democracy. That’s what people want. The President has also given his directives, through me, to all operational intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the 2023 elections take place in an atmosphere devoid of rancor.
“These people who have gangsters working for them, I want to send a very, very clear warning, a categorical and unequivocal warning to everyone, regardless of political party, including the president’s party, as long as you decide to scuttle the electoral process, the police will also react without restraint to the actions you have taken.
“You will receive a visit with an appropriate and proportionate response. I want to assure you, and I say this with all sincerity, that those who feel that they have had a history of organizing and controlling groups prone to excessive, immoderate and excessive behavior, I want to send this warning to you , please reevaluate any thoughts you have made.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the commission is taking urgent action to repair the damage to the building and replace the facilities in the Ede South local government area so that the office becomes functional again immediately.
He said, “For the Abeokuta South Local Government Area office, the destruction was total. Therefore, the Commission is relocating its staff to the former State Office (also known as the INEC Office Annex) in the Oke-Ilewo Ward of Abeokuta. All activities involving the 15 registration areas (wards) and 445 polling stations in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area will now be coordinated from the new Oke-Ilewo site.
“Similarly, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Ogun State has been tasked with compiling the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of all 65,699 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) lost during the election. attack from our database and submit the record for immediate reprint. We want to assure concerned registered voters in Abeokuta South that no one will be disenfranchised as a result of this despicable act.
On the spate of physical attacks during ongoing campaigns and political rallies, Professor Yakubu said the Commission has so far tracked 50 incidents in 21 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said: “These unfortunate events come just over a month into the election campaign which is expected to last about five months, from September 28, 2022 to February 23, 2023 for the national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and the October 12, 2022. to March 11, 2023 for National Elections (Governance and Houses of Assembly).
“The Commission fears that unless urgent and decisive action is taken, attacks will intensify as the date of the elections approaches. As we all know, a peaceful campaign heralds a peaceful election. We must take decisive action to stem the bad trend.
Material allegedly destroyed in the attack on the INEC office in Abeokuta includes 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting booths, 8 electric generators, 57 election bags, 30 megaphones, 65,699 permanent voter cards (PVC) no salvaged and a host of other assorted items like stamps and stamp pads.