Barely 48 hours to the titanic battle to elect governors in 29 states, 991 members of Houses of Assembly across 36 states, six chairmen and 62 councillors for the Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the acting Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu Abubakar, has warned that security agencies would be ruthless against those planning to disrupt the exercise.
This is even as the National Security Adviser (NSA) revealed that several secret agents have been deployed across the federation to ensure peaceful polls.
The duo spoke at the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu warned that the commission will not only refuse to issue certificate of return to any candidate who holds any INEC staff hostage to sign results but would also cancel the polling unit election.
In addition to elections into 1,082 constituencies nationwide, the Commission will also conduct supplementary elections in 14 states covering seven senatorial districts and 24 federal constituencies.
Elections in the affected areas were disrupted mainly by acts of violence involving ballot box snatching, abduction of INEC officials, over-voting and the failure to adhere to regulations and guidelines.
According to IGP Abubakar:“The security arrangements we provided during the presidential election are still in place. We have reviewed what we have done and seen where needed improvement. We sat down with other security agencies, agreed and put in place an improved security for the next election. So, every Nigerian is encouraged to come out and cast his or her vote. Both domestic and foreign observers are encouraged to come out and observe. This also includes the journalists. INEC staff are also encouraged to perform their duties without fear of any molestation.
“Electoral materials will be safeguarded. It is going to be very tough for those that disrupted the process last time in some of the states. They will never get the opportunity to disrupt the process again. Anyone who attempts to do that, there will be consequences. It is better for them to stay at home than come out to disrupt the process. Don’t attempt because we have known your modus operandi and we are ready for you.”
The NSA, who was represented by Salisu Galadima, added: “We are hopeful that this weekend’s election will equally be largely peaceful despite the security report of plans by some unscrupulous hoodlums to disrupt the forthcoming election
“We have been receiving a lot of issue for conveyance to the presidency.Beside, it is worthy to note that for the first time in history, the NSA has deployed quite a number of personnel to all the 36 states of the federation in view of the importance attached to this election.”
INEC boss described the meeting, the last consultative meeting before the second phase of voting in the 2019 general elections, as important.
He said movement to the local government areas would be completed today, while all materials and relevant personnel will arrive at the Registration Area Centres (RACs) tomorrow.
With this arrangement, the INEC boss is confident that all polling units will open at 8.00 am nationwide.
“I wish to assure Nigerians that the Commission will work closely with the Police to ensure the diligent prosecution of all violators of our electoral laws,” he noted.