President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed that nothing or anyone would be allowed to disrupt the upcoming governorship election in Anambra State.
He made the declaration at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting with service chiefs in Abuja, where the election and rising cases of violence were the main topics of discussion.
He gave the security agencies marching orders to use overwhelming force, if necessary, to protect the November 6 governorship election and ensure it was not disrupted by non-state actors who have been agitating the polity.
At the conclusion of the security meeting, National Security Adviser (NSA) Major General Babagana Monguno (Rtd) revealed the president’s directive to journalists.
Apart from the fact that the people of Anambra State deserved to elect a governor of their choice, Monguno stated that the federal government would not stand by and watch non-state actors set a bad precedent in the country’s electoral experience.
“The president has directed that under no circumstances will anything be allowed to prevent the elections from taking place successfully,” the NSA stated.
People have the right to vote, and they have the right to choose their leader, and no group or individual will be allowed to incite anarchy and chaos, which will lead to murderous activities.
“The president has stated unequivocally that the armed forces, security agencies, and law enforcement agencies must ensure that elections are held.”
If it means saturating the entire environment with security personnel.
“There are numerous implications for non-state actors sabotaging elections.”
First and foremost, we live in a democracy. Second, it is critical to note that if these non-state actors are successful in destroying the potential for orderly elections, it is natural that other parts of the country will want to replicate this situation.”
Monguno stated that the council had observed recent trends of violent activity and wished for a trouble-free election in the state.
“The problem here is that, as much as the government wants to conduct peaceful elections, there are non-state actors who have been heating up the polity, making all kinds of attempts to stymie orderly elections for next month,” he said.
Monguno insisted that the president did not want to think about being boxed into a corner.
“The mere idea that a group of non-state actors would want to portray his government as incapable of being firm is completely out of the question,” he said.”The tail cannot wag the dog; it is completely unacceptable,” the NSA added. “We in the security and intelligence community have been trying as much as possible to talk with the leadership in the South-east, to make them aware that President Buhari is not opposed to the aspirations of the people of the South-east.”
“As long as whatever they want to achieve is done in the normal prescribed manner, whether legislative, legal or whatever,” he emphasized.
President Buhari has no objections to it as long as it is within the bounds of legitimacy.
However, any outrageous action, any act typifying roguery, any usurpation of state authority will not be tolerated.
“Again, we’re mindful of the fact that Nigerians, being what they are, also need to understand that if these nonstate actors go out on a limb and extend the frontiers of violence, and begin killing people, there is a possibility that reprisal attacks will take place in other parts of the country, which we do not want to happen.”
“So, we’re working with community leaders, governors, and everyone to make sure that they bring their people and keep them on a leash.”
He also stated that the NSC reviewed the country’s security situation, noting that the various security formations – the armed forces, intelligence sector, and police –have been recording successes from one end of the country to the other.
According to him, the armed forces have achieved victory over terrorist groups in the northeast in a short period of time, as they have eliminated leaders of the notorious Islamic State West Africa Province in quick succession (ISWAP).
According to the NSA, just two days after the Nigerian Army killed Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the feared leader of ISWAP, troops killed his successor, Mallam Bako, in combat.
Monguno stated that inter-agency cooperation among various forces and agencies had resulted in significant successes in communities and the economy.
He cited the unprecedented feat of maritime security in the country, as well as the recent elimination of a notorious gangster in Benue State, one Aondofa Kefas (Azonto).
Other aspects basically have to do with the current state of security in the country and the sub-region,” he says. Of course, the armed forces and security agencies have accomplished a great deal in recent months.
“Let me state unequivocally that they have had a lot of success in the last six months.”
“The issue here is that it is difficult for the wider society to appreciate the armed forces’ successes because there will undoubtedly be incidents of misadventure.”
This is an asymmetric conflict; it is not like a typical conventional war in which territories are won, the enemy is grappled with, defeated, and the battle moves on.
The enemy is embedded in society and comes from all directions.
“Like I once said after the 1984 Brighton bombing, the difference between the terrorist or the criminal and the state is that it only takes one act for the terrorist or criminal to succeed and gain a lot of publicity, but for the armed forces, for the government and its agencies, you have to succeed on every occasion, or else, after 12 successes, if you fail or have a problem on the 13th occasion, nobody wants to know.”
“So, this is the situation in which we find ourselves.
But, in any case, I’ll just say that the Chief of Defense Staff, service chiefs, and intelligence heads briefed the Council, and I can tell you that the land forces have had a lot of success in the last two months.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of returnees from the theater of operations, both combatants and non-combatants, from both the Islamic State of West Africa Province and the Boko Haram enclaves.”
What has happened is that we now have to deal with 15,852 returnees.”
This is accompanied by problems; humanitarian problems, logistical problems, and problems of profiling each and everyone because we are not only interested in profiling ex-combatants, but also in profiling those people who are assumed to be non-combatants and may have reached out and assisted the terrorists in some way.
“In response to the frequent attacks and theft of the country’s arms and ammunition by bandits and terrorists, the NSA stated that steps were being taken to eliminate the threat.”Efforts are currently underway,” he explained.
As you are aware, the president received an important visitor yesterday in the form of turkey’s president.
“Just as he has met with Turkey’s President, he has met with other leaders to discuss how we can share intelligence and acquire technical capabilities to deal with these emerging threat
So it’s essentially a matter of determining where we can obtain the necessary equipment and assets to deal with these threats.”