The National Security Council has raised security concerns over post-election violence and stockpiling of weapons by desperate politicians across the country ahead of the 2019 general elections.
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday held a closed-door meeting with the Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) and Service Chiefs to consider the threats posed by the arms proliferation and fears of possible postelection violence. Among those who attended the meeting were National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babangana Monguno (rtd); Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Yusuf Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, and the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Defence Minister said government was worried over the attitude of some politicians who are likely to whip sentiments among Nigerians to cause crisis after the 2019 polls.
“One area of security concern includes post-election violence as desperate politicians may whip up ethno-religious sentiments to create security situation in the country. “Also of concern is the proliferation and stockpiling of weapons by some disgruntled elements with a desire to take laws into their hands at the slightest opportunity,” Dan-Ali said.
Dan-Ali said the meeting, however, recommended the deployment of security agencies to states for peaceful conduct of the elections.
“The Council recommended deployment of security agencies to states to enable the elections to be conducted peacefully and to further doused tension created by the outcome of the political parties’ primaries and some desperate persons to sabotage the electoral process.”
The defence minister explained that the Security Council called for the concerted efforts of all security agencies to ensure that 2019 elections are hitch free. Council, according to him, also called on the need for continuous sensitization of the public by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and regutive lar meetings of relevant stakeholders including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), international/local observers and the media ahead of the elections.
The defence minister said general overview of the security situation in the country as it relates to the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections was discussed. Council, according to him, also discussed attempt to put pressure on electoral body by some notable personalities through demonstrations which was brought under control by combined efforts of security agencies to avoid been hijacked by hoodlums and armed bandits.
“The meeting also discussed attempt to put pressure on electoral body by some notable personalities through demonstrations which was brought under control by combine efforts of security agencies to avoid being hijacked by hoodlums or armed bandits,” he said.
In another development, the Senate, yesterday, stood down consideration of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for third reading and passage to enable the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out further legislative work on the bill. Also, the House of Representatives stood down consideration of the Electoral Act No. 6 of 2010 at the committee of the whole. The bill which was earlier scheduled on the Senate Order Paper for consideration, was stood down when the Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said: “In view of the sensi-tive nature of the bill and its importance, it was vital to give the committee more time to do a thorough job.” In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, corroborated the position of Lawan.
He, therefore, put it to voice vote and it was unanimously adopted. The bill had scaled second reading on October 10, a day after the two chambers of the National Assembly resumed from its 11-week annual recess. The bill has been very contentious as President Muhammadu Buhari had declined assent to the bill for three consecutive times.
This is the fourth attempt by the lawmakers to have the bill passed and assented into law. At yesterday’s plenary, Speaker Yakubu Dogara called the chairman of the rules and business committee, Hon. Emmanuel Orker- Jev (PDP, Benue) to move that the bill be stood down. No date was, however, fixed for the resumption of the consideration of the electoral act amendment. It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had raised eleven queries about the electoral act the last time it was passed and sent to him for assent. The joint committee of the Senate and the House has worked on the areas of concern.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, while giving clarification in Abuja on the action of the President, said that Buhari declined assent to the bill due to some drafting issues and the period fixed for primaries among others.