The Federal Government says it will not allow any group or persons to impede smooth conduct of elections in the country.
Retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, National Security Adviser (NSA),stated this at the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting, organised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)in Abuja on Thursday,
Monguno, represented by Mr Sanusi Galadima, said that the government would not abdicate its constitutional responsibility of securing lives and property.
“With the prevalence of security threats occasioned by different dissident separatist groups in the Southern region of the country, who are bent on scuttling efforts of government in achieving national cohesion and undermining the democratic processes in the country.
“The federal government of Nigeria will not tolerate any group or persons planning to impede smooth conduct of elections.
“ While acknowledging the constitutional rights of citizens to freely express their legitimate grievances within the ambits of the law, it is also important to state that the government will not abdicate its constitutional responsibility of securing lives and property as well as secure environment for citizens to pursue their legitimate means of livelihood,” Monguno said.
He said that in exercise of the mandate of the office of the NSA, it would ensure robust deployments before, during and after the poll.
He said that this was with a view to countering threats and ensuring peaceful conduct of elections, especially the Nov. 6 Anambra governorship poll.
Monguno commended all ICCES members, especially INEC, for the successful conduct of recent by-election in constituencies across the country.
“This is in addition to the ongoing reforms to reposition the electoral process to deepen the nation’s democracy.
“The successes recorded in recent by-election in constituencies across the country are attributable to be synergy between INEC and members of ICCES as well as other stakeholders.
“We hope to consolidate same in subsequent poll,” Monguno said.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the main focus of the meeting was the Nov. 6 Anambra governorship election.
Yakubu who expressed joy that attacks on INEC facilities had subsided since June, said that the commission was working on replacing all lost items during attacks on office facilities in Anambra.
“As you are aware, our office in Awka was attacked resulting in extensive damage to the building and the destruction of critical facilities for the election including ballot boxes, voting cubicles, vehicles, power generators and several non-sensitive materials for the election.
“I am glad to report that we have made arrangement to replace all lost movable materials.
“Similarly, we are making efforts to rebuild the physical facilities which will be completed before the election,” Yakubu said.
He stated that for voter accreditation during the Anambra election, INEC plans to introduce a new technology called the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
He said that BVAS has the capability for both fingerprint and facial biometric accreditation.
He said also that INEC had concluded arrangement to pilot the new device in the Isoko South I State constituency by-election in Delta on Saturday.
He said that if it was successful, the device would be deployed for Anambra election and subsequent elections.
Yakubu commended security agencies for their continued support towards elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“INEC looks forward for the more support to ensure that it delivers another credible election for the Isoko South I State Constituency in Delta on Saturday. (NAN)