We’ll deal with perpetrators of election violence –FG

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The Federal Government has vowed to deal decisively with perpetrators of violence, whose action would threaten the security and stability of the country in the forthcoming elections.

National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, gave the warning yesterday when he held a closed-door meeting with governors in Abuja.

He disclosed that recent intelligence reports revealed plots by certain individuals to cause widespread violence aimed at scuttling the conduct of the coming elections.

Monguno added that available reports indicated that some individuals and groups who were uncertain of their fate in the coming elections are plotting to instigate violence during the polls. 

He warned that security agencies were ready to deal decisively with anyone that threatened the security and welfare of Nigerians.

He said: “We shall not spare any effort to do the needful in any event of activities that threaten the security and welfare of Nigerians. Therefore, I wish to state that no pseudo or quasi security outfit, such as vigilantes or under any guise, is allowed to participate in election security duties. Government will demonstrate zero tolerance to political thuggery and illegal bearing of firearms. 

“The IGP has instructed the various commands to arrest anyone bearing firearms illegally or engaging in acts of violence. Reports reaching me have revealed that some individuals that are uncertain of their fate in the elections are plotting to participate in widespread violence aimed at scuttling the polls.

“There are indications that these unscrupulous elements are already mobilising merchants of violence, including armed bandits and terrorists, to cause problems cross the country.

“I will refrain from being specific on some of the plots that have been uncovered, though the security agencies will spare no efforts in dealing appropriately with any act that can destabilise the nation.

“In this regard, we owe Nigerians the duty to protect and preserve their life and property, regardless of our individual or group aspirations.

“Government will demonstrate zero tolerance to political thuggery and illegal bearing of firearms. I wish to restate that our doors are always open to collaborate and act proactively to maintain the sanctity of Nigeria.”

The governors expressed concern over the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country ahead of the general election. The chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari, who briefed newsmen on the outcome of the meeting, said that the governors were also alarmed over the spate of kidnapping across the country.

Yari said the meeting, which also had heads of security agencies in attendance, recommended stronger collaboration and intelligence sharing among security agencies to ensure that life and property are protected.

He disclosed that the governors also resolved to collaborate with security agencies to ensure that the elections were free, fair and credible.

“Last, we seek stronger synergy between governors as the chief executive officers in their respective states and heads of security agencies to strengthen preemptive measures of curbing election violence and other anti-social vices.

“Governors, as major stakeholders, they (NSA and security agencies) seek our cooperation so that their job would be easier. We promised to do our best and ensure the (general) election is free and credible.

“Not only that, we came through the ballot box and we are going through the same process to seek reelection and make sure that the election is free and is commended by the international community as they did in 2015,” he said.

Yari shot down the allegation that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was planning to rig the elections, saying the President has promised that the  “election is not in any way do-or-die.”

Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, assured Nigerians of a violence-free poll. He said that the security agencies were ready for the election and would ensure that they mop up illegal arms in the system, maintaining that the neutrality of the police should not be in doubt.

The IGP said that security agencies have been directed to make sure that they mop up arms and ammunition. Adamu also pledged that policemen on election duty would strive to carry out their duty in a professional way.

“We appealed to governors to prevail on their people to ensure violence-free elections, especially those that would want to employ touts and mass firearms,” he said.

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