National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Moguno, has warned the proscribed Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) not to test the will of the Federal Government to enforce peace across the country.
The separatist group had over the weekend threatened to declare a one week sit-at-home protest in the entire South East zone from November 5 if its leader, Nnamdi Kanu is not released by November 4.
The threat has put the conduct of Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November 6 in doubt.
But speaking during the Special Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the headquarter of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, on Monday, the NSA, who is the co-chairman of ICCES, said the conduct of the Anambra State election is a legitimate process and security agencies would not allow any group under any guise to undermine the process.
He advised law enforcement agencies who would be deployed to guarantee the security of lives and property and conduct themselves in a civilised manner.
The NSA, however, warned forces who have been issuing threats to frustrate the election to have a rethink in their own interest.
He said: “We all know how important it is for us. Election is number one legitimate right of every citizen and we must not deny them that right in an atmosphere devoid of rancour and violence.
“Just like the Chairman said, we need to do better than what we did in Edo and Ondo States. For those of us in security, we have already done what we are supposed to do. All security agencies have been told to conduct themselves well and exhibit the highest level of professionalism and restraint and operate within the confines of the law and not in any way that will jeopardise the exercise.
“We are going to ensure that the people of Anambra undergo this exercise without any incident.
“We want to offer brotherly advice to our brothers who want to destabilise the process to think again. We are all eager to achieve results that will be acceptable to everybody. I don’t think it will be right for anyone to ignite a crisis. Please, think again. The law enforcement agencies will not sit by idly and allow people to terrorise people, commit homicide;they have been told to watch out for these elements. I am appealing to you to stay in your wards and behave yourself.
“Anyone that wants to disrupt the process will be brought to book.
“Finally, I want to encourage staff of INEC. I know you have gone through a lot of pains, but don’t allow that to dampen your spirit or get into lethargy. I wish you fruitful deliberations.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed that the Commission was fully prepared for the election, having successfully accomplished 12 out of the 14 activities listed in the time table and schedule of activities for the election released in January.
“The two outstanding activities are the last day of the campaign, at midnight on Thursday, 4th November, 2021, and election day which remains Saturday, 6th, November, 2021. The REC for Anambra State is here to fully provide an update on the implementation of other activities and INEC’s general state of readiness for the election,” he said.
The INEC boss restated his commitment to proceed with the election based on encouragement from heads of security agencies who have assured the commission of security of lives and property.
“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 Anambra State CP in his briefing, will provide more details regarding preparations on 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. The professionalism and neutrality exhibited by the security agencies in the two elections have been widely praised nationally and internationally. We are confident that this will be replicated in Anambra State.
“I wish to register the profound gratitude of the commission for the support we have received from religious, traditional and community leaders for peaceful elections. The commission is also working with the National Peace Committee under the leadership of our respected former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar,GCFR, to bring all political parties and candidates for the Anambra State governorship election to commit to peace before, during and after the elections. We appreciate this wide-ranging support and I wish to reassure the registered voters in Anambra State that the choice of the next governor lies in their hands. I urge all and sundry to play their part in ensuring a free, fair, credible and peaceful governorship election in Anambra State,” Yakubu added.