Saturday Elections: Fear Grips Politicians, Voters As Military, Police, DSS Vow To Defend Democracy


*As Troops Kill Over 100 Terrorists In Two Weeks*

As the clock ticks ahead of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, palpable fear has continued to grip voters over the worsening state of insecurity in some parts of the country, especially in the South East.

The alarming state of insecurity in the South East is no longer funny as precious lives are being lost daily following the murderous activities of unknown gunmen.

However, the Director, Defence Information (DDI), Brigadier General Tukur Ismaila Gusau while addressing newsmen at a security press briefing, on Thursday, Defence Headquarters, Abuja said the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) “warned undesirable elements, that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and other security agencies are ready and will subvert any threats to peace and tranquillity.”

Stating further that, “strong force will be applied to those that want to breach public peace” during the general election.

According to General Tukur, the CDS has “assured the nation that we are set for the conduct of hitch-free elections in the country. The AFN is prepared to support the Nigerian Police and other government agencies responsible for conducting elections.

“The CDS has sent out strong messages that the AFN is committed to collaboration with other security agencies to ensure this election is successful.

“In the words of the CDS, ‘the elections will be conducted and everyone will be at liberty to exercise his franchise’ the AFN is committed to strong and viable constitutional democracy.

“We are very loyal to the Nigerian State and we are ready to defend democracy at all cost. The AFN has adequately sensitized its personnel on their expected roles throughout the period of the elections

“During the elections, all our normal operations and duties will continue simultaneously across the country. Operation Safe conduct has been activated to provide guidance to the AFN during the general elections. DHQ has established a monitoring team in conjunction with other security agencies that will oversee the process in FCT and all the six geopolitical zones of the country.

“Similarly, operations centres have been established in FCT and the 36 states of the country to serve as quick response centres for all distress calls in the event of any breach of peace during the general election.”

On his part, the Force Spokesperson, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi said both the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and her sister security agencies are working together to protect Nigerian Democracy and ensure not just free, fair and credible elections, but acceptable elections.

According to Adejobi, “We are together making sure that we protect our Democracy and work towards having good transitional progresses in Nigeria’s democracy.

“Like the CDS, we are ready to protect democracy; we are ready to give good security to our electoral process so that we can have free, fair credible and even acceptable general elections in 2023.

“This is the philosophy of Mr President who said he wants free fair and credible elections, despite belonging to a political party, he wants to give every Nigerian the rights, liberty to do whatever he wants to do.”

Talking about incessant killings in the South East, Adejobi stated that, in certain areas where “we have recorded pockets of incidences we want to assure you that we are on top of the situation, we want to urge Nigerians to be on the same page with us.

“Go out and vote but to those who want to ferment trouble; if you want it hot, we give you hot, if you want it average, we give you average, if you want it mild or simple, we will give you the way you want. Every situation requires an approach depending on the perception and the magnitude of that situation we give it to you.

“For those who believe they have the monopoly of violence, I tell you that a man who pulls a trigger to declare a war may not live to see the end of that particular war, that war you have declared may consume you.

“If you want to be the king to rule your community, then don’t kill your kinsmen, don’t kill your subjects so that you can have a good and robust community to serve.”

Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer, Department of State Services (DSS), Dr. Peter Afunanya assured that the DSS is committed to a peaceful exercise.

According to him, “DSS pledges its neutrality, professionalism and good conduct of its personnel to the democratic process. It will continue to discharge its mandate of disseminating timely, actionable and proactive intelligence necessary for tactical, operational and strategic decisions even beyond the elections.

“Also, it will partner with other sister security and law enforcement agencies; all levels and arms of government and indeed all stakeholders particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and relevant Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations to ensure a hitch-free electoral exercise.

“In this regard, we call on all citizens and residents to be law-abiding before, during and after the elections. Eligible voters are enjoined to cast their votes without any form of violence and also maintain the peace after that.”

In a related development, the Defence Headquarters said on Thursday that, troops of Operation Hadin Kai, have killed over 100 terrorists in both land and air operations across the North East.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Major-General Musa Danmadami, made this known at the bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the AFN, on Thursday, in Abuja.

According to him, troops conducted several raids, fighting patrols and ambushes operations within the theatre with heavy casualties on the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists.

Danmadami also disclosed that a large cache of arms and ammunition including 17 AK47 rifles, nine dane guns, 12 AK47 magazines, 86 rounds of 7.62mm special, 71 rounds of 45mm ammunition and 145 rounds of 7.62mm NATO were recovered.

“Land troops also neutralised 27 terrorists and arrested 18 logistics suppliers, spies and informants at different locations within the theatre as well as rescued 20 abducted civilians during the period. A total of 252 terrorists and members of their families comprising 24 adult males, 79 adult females and 150 children surrendered to troops at a different locations within the theatre of operations.

“All recovered items, rescued civilians, and apprehended suspects have been handed over to the appropriate authority for further action while surrendered terrorists and members of their families are being profiled for further action,” he said.


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