The Federal Government has ordered security agents to crush disgruntled elements who want disrupt the November 6 Anambra State governorship election.
Recall that the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) had last week allegedly issued a one-week sit-at-home order ahead of the governorship poll.
However, speaking during an emergency meeting between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja on Monday, National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Mungono warned that security agents will not tolerate any act of lawlessness during the election in the state.
Reading the riot act to the security agencies, the NSA said that any rogue element will be brought to justice in accordance with the rules of those institutions.
‘We are all welcome to another meeting ahead of the all-important assignment, the November 6, governorship election in Anambra State. we are poised for another all-important national assignment and that is the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State,’ he said.
‘We all know how important this exercise is, not only for those of us who are supposed to ensure hitch-free exercise but for the people who are expected to vote.
‘This is what we know to be the greatest optimisation of what every citizen should aspire to. It is the number one legitimate expectation and right of every citizen and we must not deny anybody that right to exercise his civic duty, not just to exercise it, but to exercise it in an atmosphere devoid of rancour, apprehension, tension, and all those factors that lead to suspicion and people ending up in courts or even into violence.
‘This is what we need to avoid, just like INEC Chairman said, the two elections that were held in Edo and Ondo, we need to do even better than that in order to really earn confidence in society.
‘Now, for those of us in security, we have already done most of what we are supposed to do. All the law enforcement agencies, security agencies, etc, have been charged to conduct themselves in a manner that will command the general widespread respect of all the people of Anambra State and by extension, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
‘They have been asked, charged to exhibit the highest level of professionalism, patience, perseverance, as well as self-restraint. We have been told to operate within the confines of the law, and not to go out and exhibit tendencies that would jeopardise this exercise.
‘I want to reassure the general public that the security agencies are going to do everything within their power to ensure that the people of Anambra State undergo this exercise without any incident.
‘In the same vein, I want to offer a word of brotherly advice to our brothers and sisters in Anambra State who may want to use means, methods that are unorthodox and that are unusual to destabilise, an already delicate situation to please think again.
‘We are all eager to achieve results in this election that will be acceptable to everybody. I don’t think it will be helpful to anyone to go out and ignite something that might cause pain for the people of Anambra State, the good people of Anambra State, the peace loving people, under whatever disguise, please think, again.
‘The law enforcement agencies in as much as they are to operate in accordance with the requirements of their profession, will not sit by idly and allow people to start looting, destroying public property, and resorting to not just intimidation, terrorising people, possibly arson and even homicide. This will not be accepted. Law enforcement agencies have been asked to watch out for such elements.
‘Because what you start, you don’t know how it will end. There is no need to embark on an exercise of self-delusion, futility or some form of a tangle. Please, I am appealing to you all brothers. Stay within your wards, your local government and let us have a peaceful election.
‘For the security agencies in wards, any rogue element that decides to behave in a manner that will tie our collective institutions in a very dark colour will be brought to justice in accordance with the rules of those institutions. Do not do anything that will harm this process,’ he warned.
‘Finally, I want to encourage agents of INEC, I know you have gone through a lot of pain, a lot of losses with your colleagues from the Nigeria police force and other agencies, do not allow what has happened in the past to dampen your spirits. Do not allow it to drive you into a state of lethargy. Please continue to support the leadership of INEC and let us get this job done,’ he charged.
Earlier in his remarks, INEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu had promised to replicate the feat recorded during the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in the Anambra poll.
Warning that there is no going on the planned election, he said: ‘INEC is determined to proceed with the Anambra State governorship election as scheduled. The safety and protection of voters, our personnel, accredited observers, the media and materials are cardinal considerations in any election. We have been assured by the security agencies of a secure environment for the election. I am sure the CP Anambra State in his briefing, will provide more details regarding preparations on the ground.
‘I wish to place on record the continued support of security agencies to the Commission during elections. Particularly noteworthy is the high level of professional conduct of the agencies in the last two major elections in Edo and Ondo States. Indeed, Edo and Ondo have become the standard for securing elections in Nigeria. The professionalism and neutrality exhibited by the security agencies in the two elections have been widely praised nationally and internationally. We are confident that this will be replicated in Anambra State,’ he said.