Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has alerted of plans by unnamed persons, to use military and para-military uniforms on election day, to achieve their selfish desires.
This was as he further disclosed that same elements have concluded plans to use illegally-acquired arms to cause disruptions.
Accordingly, Olonisakin has vowed the readiness of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in collaboration with security agencies,to contain the threats.
“Members of the Press, distinguished ladies and gentlemen. It has become necessary to issue this statement following the meeting of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and security and intelligence agencies, which has just ended. In the last few months, various security agencies have been reviewing their strategies to ensure adequate security and protection for all Nigerians and other nationals living in Nigeria before, during and after the General Elections in February and March 2019.
“This is in line with our various constitutional responsibilities. There have also been several inter-agency collaborations and harmonization of these strategies.
“The meeting we have just had involved the heads of these agencies to ensure we further harmonize our strategies to provide adequate security for the smooth conduct of the general elections”, the CDS said.
Olonisakin used the forum to reiterate President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to a free and fair election.
“In 2 days’ time, the 2019 General Elections will begin. The Nigerian Government, the people of Nigeria as well as the international community are all desirous of a free, fair, transparent, credible and most importantly, violence free elections. Mr President, Commander-in-Chief has also told us in clear terms in our meeting with him, of his commitment to free, fair and credible elections. I wish to say that the Armed Forces of Nigeria as well as other security and
intelligence agencies are also committed to a violence free elections and that all Nigerians eligible to vote are able to carry out their civic responsibility and vote for candidates of their choice without any fear of molestation by any person or group.
“We are not unaware of plans to illegally use uniforms of military/paramilitary agencies to impersonate security and law enforcement agencies; illegal possession and use of firearms to
intimidate and harass members of the public; and other acts likely to cause security breaches.
“Let me warn that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will not tolerate any act that is likely to cause security breaches before, during and after the elections, and will deal
decisively with these acts irrespective of those involved.
“Members of the public are also advised to disregard the call to stay at home on the day of the election being circulated in some parts of the country. The stay-at-home leaflets being circulated and similar on-line messages are part of the handiwork of mischief makers who are
bent on scuttling the process and should be ignored. I want to assure the general public that the security services are prepared to support the Police to ensure safe conduct of the elections”.
While reiterating the authorities’ resolve to remain apolitical, the CDS noted thus: “It is important to reiterate that law enforcement agencies will remain apolitical. Besides, Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of Nigeria for the 2019 General Elections have been issued to the Services and security personnel that will be deployed for election security duties.
“All other personnel who are not so deployed for election security duties have been directed to steer clear of the elections apart from exercising their rights to vote for candidates of their choice. I would also like to appeal to all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the restrictions on movement during the period of the elections”.
Meanwhile, Olonisakin has advised the public to adhere strictly restriction order while the polls lasted, warning that violators will be punished appropriately.
“Violators of the restriction on movement, no matter how highly placed, will be arrested and detained. However, this restriction does apply to those on election security duties, local and international observers/monitors and emergency and security services personnel on
authorized duties only.
“Finally, I wish to assure all peace-loving members of the public of the preparedness of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies to support a peaceful 2019 General Elections and to encourage all to go about their legitimate activities without fear of
intimidation. I also want to encourage us to promptly report all suspicious activities to the law enforcement agencies”, he added.
At the briefing were: Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai (Chief of Army Staff); Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas (Chief of Naval Staff); Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar (Chief of the Air Staff); Mohammed Adamu (Acting Inspector General of Police); Yusuf Bichi (Director general,
Department of State Services); Director general of the National Intelligence Agency, as well as the Chief of Defence Intelligence.
Stella Enenche, Abuja