From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has ordered security agents to crush members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other disgruntled elements bent on sabotaging the conduct of the Anambra gubernatorial election slated for November 6.
IPOB had last week issued a one week sit-at-home order in the South East which is believed to be targeted at frustrating prospective voters, electoral officials and other logistics suppliers from coming out for the Anambra poll.
However, speaking during an emergency meeting between the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja, yesterday, National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mungono, warned that security agents would not tolerate any act of lawlessness during the conduct of the poll in Anambra. He said the right to vote in an election was legitimate and charged security agencies to ensure that no voter was denied the right to exercise his franchise on November 6 in Anambra.
Mungono said any rogue element that behaves in a manner that would compromise the conduct of the election would be brought to justice. He said the target of security agencies was to ensure that the Anambra poll was better than elections previously held in Edo and Ondo states as demanded by INEC. He tasked security agencies assigned to the state to act professionally but firmly in creating an atmosphere devoid of rancour, apprehension, tension, and all factors that lead to suspicion and people ending up in courts after the poll.
“I want to reassure the general public that the security agencies are going to do everything within their power to ensure that the people of Anambra State undergo this exercise without any incident. In the same vein, I want to offer a word of brotherly advice to our brothers and sisters in Anambra State ,who may want to use means, methods that are unorthodox and are unusual to destabilise an already delicate situation to please think again.
“We are all eager to achieve results in this election that will be acceptable to everybody. I don’t think it will be helpful to anyone to go out and ignite something that might cause pain for the people of Anambra State under whatever disguised. The law enforcement agencies in as much as they are to operate in accordance with the requirements of their profession, will not sit by idly and allow people to start looting, destroying public property, and resorting to not just intimidation, terrorising people, possibly arson and even homicide. This will not be accepted. Law enforcement agencies have been asked to watch out for such elements. There is no need embarking on an exercise of self delusion, futility or some form of tangle. Please, I am appealing to you all brothers, stay within your wards, your local government and let us have a peaceful election. For the security agencies, any rogue element that decides to behave in a manner that will tie our collective institutions in a very dark colour will be brought to justice in accordance with the rules of those institutions. Do not do anything that will harm this process,” he warned.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, had promised to replicate the feat recorded during the Edo and Ondo governorship elections in the Anambra poll.
“INEC is determined to proceed with the Anambra State governorship election as scheduled. The safety and protection of voters, our personnel, accredited observers, the media and materials are cardinal considerations in any election. We have been assured by the security agencies of a secure environment for the election. I am sure the CP Anambra State in his briefing, will provide more details regarding preparations on the ground.
“I wish to place on record the continued support of security agencies to the commission during elections. Particularly noteworthy is the high level of professional conduct of the agencies in the last two major elections in Edo and Ondo States. Indeed, Edo and Ondo have become the standard for securing elections in Nigeria.”