19 October 2018

Nigeria: Disgruntled Politicians Stockpiling Arms to Scuttle 2019 Polls - Security Chiefs

Photo: This Day
Nigeria elections.

Abuja — Security chiefs have raised the alarm that disgruntled politicians are stockpiling arms to scuttle the 2019 general elections.

They made this claim in their presentation to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday during their National Security Council meeting.

In attendance were all the service chiefs - the chiefs of army staff Gen Tukur Buratai; air staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar; naval staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, and defence staff, Gen Gabriel Olonisakin, as well as the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi; the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris; the minister of defence, Mansur Dan Ali, and national security adviser, Gen Babagana Monguno.

The chief of defence staff, Gen Olonisakin, who made the presentation on behalf of the service chiefs, said the country's security architecture was primed to ensure violence-free general elections next year.

According to him, the security bosses discussed the general overview of the security situation in the country as it relates to the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

Expressing concern over the possibility of post-election violence, the security chiefs alleged that desperate politicians may whip up ethno-religious sentiment to create security situation in the country

They recommended the deployment of security agencies to states to ensure the peaceful and smooth conduct of the elections, to douse tension created by the outcome of the political parties' primaries and to thwart the plan of some desperate persons to sabotage the electoral process.

"The meeting also discussed attempts to put pressure on the electoral body by some notable personalities through demonstrations, which was brought under control by the combined efforts of security agencies, to avoid it from being hijacked by hoodlums and armed bandits.

"Another area of security concern includes post-election violence, as desperate politicians may whip up ethno-religious sentiments to create security situation in the country.

"Also of concern is the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take the law into their hands at the slightest opportunity," he said.

Olonisakin further stated that the Council called for the concerted efforts of all security agencies to ensure that 2019 elections are hitch free, just as it stressed the need for continuous sensitisation of the public by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and regular meetings of relevant stakeholders including INEC, international/ local observers and the media ahead of the elections.

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