• No going back on election dates, says Security Council

    No going back on election dates says security council - nigeria newspapers online
    • 5Minutes – Read
    • 804Words (Approximately)

    With about 48 hours to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, Nigeria’s Security Council said it was satisfied with the level of security nationwide, therefore, there was “no going back” on the February 25 and March 11 election dates.

    The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the council’s maiden meeting for 2023 chaired by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

    Wednesday’s declaration was meant to allay simmering concerns that the federal government may postpone the elections amidst the new naira crisis.

    With the crisis ensuing from the Central Bank’s new naira policy coupled with the fuel scarcity in some parts of the country, some governors and public officeholders have alleged deliberate plans by the federal government to shift the election dates, a claim that the Presidency has repeatedly denied.

    Addressing journalists on Wednesday, the AGF, Malami, said the federal government had made enough preparations ahead of Saturday’s elections.

    He said the members expressed satisfaction with the current security situation and resolved that the elections must be held as planned.

    According to Malami, council members were briefed by the Chief of Defence Staff, the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs, and heads of other security agencies about their readiness to provide the necessary security cover for the election.

    The AGF also noted that the Security Council meeting was a follow-up on earlier meetings by the Federal Executive Council and the Council of States to ascertain the readiness of the electoral watchdog, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and the Nigeria Police Force for the general election.

    “At the National Security Council meeting, briefings were made by security agencies generally and service chiefs.

    “National Security Adviser made submission; Chief of Defence Staff made one; Chief of Army Staff made submission; Chief of Naval Staff made submission, Chief of Air Staff did; Inspector-General of Police, who incidentally is equally addressing you, made submission; Director-General, State Security Service did; and indeed DG NIA and CDI all made submissions.

    “The summary and conclusion of all submissions was to the effect that the system is wholeheartedly ready for the conduct of the election and arising there from, the position of the government, the position of the President is to the effect that the election is holding on February, 25 2023 and Mr. President and the National Security Council are happy with the preparations on the ground and wholehearted arrangements are put in place in that direction.”

    Malami added that there was no going back on the planned elections.

    “So we have been mandated, arising from the conclusions of the Security Council meetings to now brief you accordingly, but the summary of it, the conclusion of it, the resolution of the Council, is to the effect that the elections are holding and there is no going back about it,” Malami said.

    The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, who also briefed journalists, revealed that the president had directed all security agencies to ensure a safe electoral exercise for Nigerians and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, alike.

    “As for specific instructions, yes we have specific instructions.

    “The specific instruction is that we must ensure that Nigerians are allowed to come out and exercise their franchise or vote the leaders of their choice and for that we must create a conducive environment or atmosphere for Nigerians to exercise their right.

    “We must also provide protection for INEC materials and officials to do their work. We must ensure that before, during and after the election, whatever fall-back it is, we do not have people who will take the laws their hands and if there is any, we should be able to check within the quickest possible means to ensure that it does not snowball into a bigger crisis,” Baba revealed.

    Fielding a question about an allegation against governors inciting violence over the new naira crisis, Baba said the Force could not prosecute them but could only dish out cautions.

    “We are investigating whoever does anything that can be investigated.”

    “But for him to be prosecuted, there are people who have immunity. I think that is some of the reasons, but that will not stop us from cautioning or warning them and from advising them and we are doing so,” Baba said.

    He explained that the increasing presence of military personnel on the streets of Lagos and Abeokuta in Ogun State after the recent unrest were joint operations to stabilise the internal security order before the election.

    “These are not operations that are targeted at the election.

    “But it is targeted at stabilising the situation, especially the one that came up as a result of the currency swap or whatever we can call it, where people go on vandalizing, destroying and even committing arson and so on and so forth,” he explained.

    See More Stories Like This