The National Security Adviser, NSA, to the President, retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, has assured Nigerians that the 2023 general elections would be conducted in an atmosphere devoid of rancor.
Mr Monguno gave the assurance during his meeting with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and the leadership of security agencies in the country.
He advised Nigerians to dispel any form of misinformation, fake news and fear on the conduct of 2023 general elections, saying the election would be conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.
Mr Monguno said that the meeting was to look at certain issues that dominated both the political and economic spaces in the country in the last couple of weeks, leading to apprehensions, agitation, fear and uncertainty with regards to the general Elections.
“We are all aware of the current situation in the country. There is a need for me to reassure citizens of this country that whatever fears, or agitations we have I would want to dispel such feelings.
“The 2023 elections will go on in a climate devoid and bereft of rancor. The security agencies have done a lot in the last couple of months to put things in place.”
Mr Monguno said that the security agencies were sure of the measures they had put in place.
“We are not in any way in doubt what the situation of the country is but we need to let the entire country know that agents of bad news are peddling all kinds of stories around.
“We see these on social media and hear things on many platforms. If these are intended to scare people, I want to dispel such illusions.
“Everybody that is concerned in carrying out his legitimate undertaking, casting his or her vote will do so in a secured atmosphere.
“It is very important that Nigerians are not pushed to the limit where they will abandon their number one responsibility as citizens.
“I have confidence in the work of security agencies had been doing.
“The Nigeria Police Force is a lead agency and has assured all of us repeatedly during our meeting and engagement and I know all the security agencies are up to the task.”
Mr Monguno said that the remaining days to the election would be used to intensify efforts among security agencies for election security.
On his part, the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, restated the commitment of the armed forces to work with the Police and other security agencies to ensure that INEC conducts the 2023 general elections without hitches.
“I believe that this meeting today couldn’t have come at a better time to look at what we have done thus far. What gaps do exist and how we can close it,” Mr Irabor said.
The Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, also assured members of the public that the police, in collaboration with other security agencies, are fully prepared for 2023 general elections.
Baba pledged that the security personnel would provide a level-playing ground for Nigerians to exercise their franchise.
“We are aware of the situation in Nigeria in terms of crime and criminality, and in terms of the general situation, particularly in the south East.
“We are prepared to checkmate the activities of those who do not even want the election to take place and also provide a level-playing ground for those who are willing to exercise the franchise to do so,” Baba said.
In his remarks, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, welcomed the assurances from security agencies for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Mr Yakubu said that INEC looks forward to the comprehensive plan for the deployment of security personnel to their various duty posts.
“This arrangement has been done in the past and has greatly facilitated rapid response to situations that may arise in the field either on Election Day or during the collation of results.”
Mr Yakubu said that for INEC, its preparation for the election had gone far as most of the sensitive and non-sensitive materials were already in the various locations nationwide.
“Training of all categories of ad hoc staff will soon take place and election technology has been tested, mock accreditation conducted and configuration underway.
“The movement of personnel and materials has been worked out with the land and maritime transport unions.
“Facilities destroyed in recent attacks have either been repaired already or are being repaired.
“Where the damage is extensive, alternative facilities have been secured while materials lost will be replaced.”
He said that INEC had also engaged other critical national institutions such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, with regard to the adequate supply of petroleum products and the arrangement to pay for critical services without any encumbrances.
“We are glad that additional security has been deployed to our facilities nationwide.
“We also note the increasing tempo of activities in many troubled spots nationwide.
“We are confident that these actions will further reassure voters, our personnel, service providers and stakeholders of their safety during elections and of a free, fair and peaceful process,” Mr Yakubu said.