Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, has warned that the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies would not tolerate any act that would cause security breaches before, during and after the general election.
Olonisakin said the military and sister agencies would deal decisively with any person or group of persons that violate the order, irrespective of their political affiliation and social status.
The CDS spoke at a media briefing shortly after a security meeting with the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Etete Ibas, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, and the Inspector-General Of Police, Mohammad Adamu.
Others who attended the meeting were the director-general of the Department of State Security, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, director-general, National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar, and the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Usman.
Olonisakin said: “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 harmonisation of these strategies. The meeting we have just had involved the heads of these agencies to ensure we further harmonise our strategies to provide adequate security for the smooth conduct of the elections.
“The Nigerian government, the people of Nigeria as well as the international community are all desirous of 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 and other security agencies will not tolerate any act that is likely to cause security breaches.”