The federal government has vowed to deal decisively with the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other “unscrupulous elements” who plan to disrupt the November 6 Anambra State governorship election.
This is as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted that it is ready and that the election will hold as scheduled.
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen Babagana Monguno (Retd), gave the warning on Monday in Abuja at a meeting of the Inter-agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), saying security agencies had been ordered to deal ruthlessly with troublemakers.
IPOB had declared November 5 to 10 as days for sit-at-home in the South-East to put pressure on the federal government to release its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The group vowed that the protest would go on as planned if Kanu was not released before November 4, leading to palpable tension that such a threat could disrupt the November 6 governorship election.
The NSA, however, said: “I want to offer a word of brotherly advice to our brothers and sisters in Anambra State who may want to use means, methods that are unorthodox and unusual to destabilize an already delicate situation to please think again.
“We are all eager to achieve results in this election that will be acceptable to everybody.
“I don’t think it will be helpful to anyone to go out and ignite something that might cause pain for the people of Anambra, under whatever disguised, please think, again,” Monguno said.
He said law enforcement agencies would operate in accordance with the requirements of their profession and will not sit by idly and allow people to loot, destroying public property and resorting to not just intimidation, terrorizing people, possibly and arson, even homicide.
He said that this will not be accepted, as law enforcement agencies have been asked to watch out for such elements.
He said: “Please, I am appealing to you our all brothers. Stay within your wards, your local government and let us have a peaceful election.
“But for the security agencies in ward, any rogue element that decides to behave in a manner that will tie our collective institutions in a very dark colour will be brought to justice in accordance with the rules of those institutions,” he said.
INEC insists on election
Speaking earlier, INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said the commission was determined to proceed with the poll as scheduled.
He said the deployment of non-sensitive materials and training of personnel for the election have been concluded.
Yakubu said: “The commission has successfully accomplished 12 out of the 14 activities listed in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election released in January this year.
“The two outstanding activities are the last day of the campaign, at midnight on Thursday, November 4, 2021, and election day which remains Saturday, November 6, 2021.”
He said the commission was working with the National Peace Committee (NPC), headed by a former Head of States, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, to bring all political parties and candidates for the election to commit to peace before, during and after the elections.
He said: “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.”