Nigeria: Ahead of 2023 Elections – Security Agencies Put Governors, Politicians On Watch List

Less than three months to the presidential election, security agencies are beaming their searchlight on state governors over some of their undemocratic tendencies.

Yesterday, the national security adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, warned state governors using thugs and other tactics to prevent the opposition from executing political campaigns in their states to desist, warning that security agencies have been mandated to deal with them.

He gave the warning during the weekly Ministerial Briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The NSA, who used the platform to reel out the programme of, and achievements of, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in the security sector, was reacting to a question about a pattern gaining grounds in states in which governors now introduce actions that target campaign structures of opposition politicians within their domains.

Monguno, who described the trend as a manifestation of an inferiority complex in those guilty of the offense, however, warned the governors to “call their Capo regime to order because when we move, there will be no hiding place.”

Fielding questions on why state governors are not allowing opposition political parties to campaign in their states and even pull down their campaign posters, the NSA stated that the phenomenon is not new but goes back to the First and Second Republics.

“We had a press briefing with the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission Election Commission (INEC) about a week ago, and we emphasised the need for everybody to operate on a level playing field.

“One thing I can assure you is the president has given clear directives that the people’s will must prevail. What happened in Anambra is what we want to happen all over the country: let the people choose their leader- whoever they want, but in the process of selecting who governs them, we must be mindful of the fact that there are people who are hell-bent on forcing or bullying and cornering their opponents.

“It’s a big problem. It’s a problem that’s also linked with a complex because if you are really sure of who you are, you don’t need to hire thugs. If you cannot restrain your thugs, the government will do that for you … and you will answer questions.

“This virus has to be contained. I have given a clear warning during the press conference that any politician who engages in any activity and unpalatable activity, the use of thugs and I know we have a lot of thugs, political thugs straining at the leash, foaming at the mouth, desperate to bite, to spill blood.

“But we’re going to apply everything within the powers of the government. I’m not saying that we’re going to just operate in a manner that is not regulated, because the government is not going to embark on anything that is uncontrolled. We will operate on the straight and narrow, confining ourselves to legality, that I can assure you. The president has given his directives and we’re working on that.

“So, those elements who think they can deny other people the air to breathe, the political air to breathe, and reach out to the local community, should have another think. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, these political elements should call the thugs, their ‘Capo regimes’ to order. They should have a nice, quiet, fireside chat with them and advise them that when the law enforcement agencies come, they’ll be dealt with,” he said.

Reacting to a question on the possibility of the general elections being hampered by violence and other forms of threat, Monguno said no amount of security threats will stop the process from going on as planned, as President Buhari had vowed to deliver a free, fair and transparent election.

Insecurity Declining In Nigeria, Say Lawmakers

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Delegation at the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has said that the insecurity that beset the country in the last couple of years is declining as revealed in the third quarter security data.

The lawmakers disclosed this when they presented the Nigerian Country Report before the ECOWAS Parliament yesterday at the ongoing 2022 2nd Ordinary Session of the Parliament in Abuja.

Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu, who presented the report, said improvement in the security situation of the country has also triggered good achievements in other sectors of the country such as the economy and political situations.

Ikpeazu however, noted that Nigeria is still experiencing some security challenges but the reduced incidents have been linked on one hand to the Federal government’s approval of 2.6-billion-naira intervention.

She said the frequency of strategy meetings by the National Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari had led to the implementation of a sustainable security framework.

“In recent months, there have been reduced security incidents in the country. This is linked on the one hand to the federal government’s approval of N2.6 billion for the purchase of security equipment and, on the other hand, improved tactics, techniques and procedures by security forces especially in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”

She also said there is increased inter-service and inter-agency synergy and better cohesion between national and multinational security forces.

“As a result, there has been noticeable reduction in security incidents in the North-east and North-west, particularly in states constantly under attack by the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’adati wal-Jihad (JAS).”

On the political situation, the Nigerian lawmakers said that Nigeria is geared towards delivering a free, fair, and credible election in 2023 as affirmed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“INEC has further reaffirmed its determination to conduct a technology-driven election that will prevent any form of human errors, which were seemingly the case in the past.

“It is noteworthy that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been successfully deployed in the 2022 off-season gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun states, thus reigniting the hope of Nigerians for a credible 2023 general elections,” she said.

On the economic situation, the country report revealed that Nigeria is slowly recovering from the combined impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukraine war, insecurity and natural disasters.

Ikpeazu in the report said that the redesigning of the higher denominations of the Nigerian currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was a bid to mop up excess cash in circulation, arrest inflation, and curtail counterfeiting.

She noted that with the progressive exercise, the CBN is confident that the measure will help recall more than 85 per cent of its total monies outside the vaults of banks.

She said that the measure was also taken to block access to monies used as ransom by terrorists and kidnappers in the country.


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