By Jacob Segun Olatunji – Abuja
Ahead of the General Elections, the current acute shortage of fuel supply and the scarcity of the redesigned new Naira Notes, the Nation’s Security Forces are now on red alert Nationwide on the directive of the Federal Government for easy mobilization in case of any eventuality.
A Presidency source told the Nigerian Tribune on Sunday in confidence that the action became necessary following the various unfavourable security reports at the disposal of the Federal Government parts of which manifested in some parts of the country on Friday with violent public protests against the scarcity of the new Naira Notes
The source said that the security forces comprising the Military, the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Custom Services NCS, Nigeria Immigration Services, NIS, Department of State Services, DSS, Civil Defence Corps and others have been strictly directed to keep eagles eyes on the nation’s land borders, Seaports and Airports to watch out for the enemies trying the strength of the security of the country
According to the source, “also Politicians generally irrespective of Political Parties, individuals and groups in whatever names are being placed under security watch against acts inimical to the security of the nation
The source further hinted that the security forces have also been directed to commence the immediate full enforcement of the law banning all forms of unlawful public gathering, rallies and possessions in any part of the country without a written permit from the Nigeria Police Force
According to the source, “the new order now is that there must be a written permit from the Nigeria Police Force which will enable the security forces to provide adequate security cover for such a gathering or rally against attack by criminally minded elements as being witnessed in some parts of the country where political rallies are being attached by hoodlums at will
“From now on, no rally will be allowed to hold in any part of the country without a valid Police permit, we stopped many such rallies from holding at the main Gate of the National Assembly in the last few days, we are not saying don’t hold your rallies or protests, these are the rights of the citizens but you must have a valid Police permit.”
Aggrieved members of the public on Friday demonstrated against the continued scarcity of New Naira Notes in Ibadan, Oyo State and Beni city Edo State during which Bank facilities were destroyed.
following the ugly development and to guide against their repeat, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alikali on Friday directed a nationwide crackdown on those hoarding, selling and as well abusing the Naira Notes in any form.
The IGP ordered the immediate arrest and prosecution of those found to be flouting the CBN Act on Nigeria currency Notes and as well directed security to be stepped up around the financial institutions across the nation to prevent possible mob attacks.
Both the DSS and the ICPC have also confirmed the arrest of several suspects including top bank officials over the mishandling of the new Naira Notes with a promise to prosecute them.
Apart from the readiness of the security forces to combat threats from the scarcity of fuel supply and that of the new Naira Notes, Nigerian Tribune gathered that they are also battling ready for peaceful and credible polls.
The Military High Command had declared that the Armed Forces of Nigeria in collaboration with other security forces in the country would deal decisively with any act inimical to the successful conduct of the coming polls.
Fielding questions during the bi-weekly briefing of Defence Correspondents in Abuja, Director, Directorate of Defence Media Operations, DDDI, Major Gen. Musa Danmadanmim assured that the Military as an institution would remain apolitical but would deal ruthlessly with any act that would be inimical to the smooth conduct of the polls nationwide.
He stated that in the past few weeks, both kinetic and non-kinetic operations were conducted in the various theatres of operations, with significant results recorded and that there was no cause for concern over the peaceful conduct of the Polls in any part of the country.
According to him, “the Armed Forces Of Nigeria is on stand by, for the general Elections, there is no cause for concern, the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Irabor has stated this on several occasions, we will remain apolitical but will deal divisively with any unwanted behaviour, the rules of engagement are there, the code of conducts are being distributed to the troops.
“The Nigeria Police Force is the lead Agency in the conduct of Elections but the Military and other sister security agencies will play supportive roles, and we are ready for the supportive roles, so, there is no cause for concern, as we speak now, we are conducting various operations in the perceived volite South East Zone to restore normalcy in the area as we did in the past after which peaceful Elections were held, the coming Elections will also hold in the area and so also in all the parts of the country”
He made it clear that as of today no part of the nation’s territory was in the hands of terrorists and this was not being envisaged in the future.
The Nigeria Police Force, ahead of the forthcoming general Elections, the Force said that it had trained 612 officers from across the six Geo-Political zones of the country on effective strategies for combatting cultism, kidnapping and electoral violence during the polls
According to the Force Spokesperson, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the training which was held at six different venues in each of the six geo-political zones of the country was organized by the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with Wan Diyos Limited, a consulting firm, and had renowned members of the academia as well as a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, DIG Hashimu Ibrahim Argungu (Rtd.) as resource persons.
He explained that the training workshop probed historical antecedents as well as contemporary issues and solutions to the challenges of cultism, kidnapping, and electoral violence in the country
According to him, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba emphasized that the training was germane in light of the upcoming general elections to prepare officers to train their men on vibrant tactics to identify and decimate threats to election security management.
He added that the Force had also organized training for all the Force Mobile Police Commanders nationwide ahead of me polls.
On its own, the Department of State Services (DSS) had organized a four day Strategic Workshop for its State Directors of Security and Heads of Institutions.as part of the Service’s preparedness for the general elections.
According to its Spokesperson Dr Peter Afunnaya, the workshop was held at its Headquarters in Abuja between 18th and 21st January, this year , for a successful polls.
He stated that during the exercise, the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu presented a keynote address on the preparation of the Commission towards the election.
According to him, the INEC boss assured the Service of the Commission’s determination to deliver free, fair and credible election. while the Commision also educated participants on the Electoral Act 2022 and its implications for Security agencies.
He added that the Service reviewed the security situation in the country and assured INEC of its support which is in line with the President’s pronouncement to the world to bequeath a free and fair election.
According to him “as part of related trainings and courses outlined for personnel for the period, a capacity building seminar in Public Relations was declared open by the DGSS today, 23rd January, 2023 for mid-level officers drawn from the State Commands. Resource persons from the media, public relations practice and the academia are participating in the seminar.
The Civil Defence Corps had also debunked the claims in some quarters that its personnel would boycott the polls because ot unpaid elections allowances while the Interior Minister Rauf Aregbesola has directed the personnel off the Nigeria Immigration Services NIS to watch over the nation’s porous boaders ahead of the polls.
In order to ensure availability of adequate man power for the exercise, total embargo has been placed on annual leaves and issuance of passes except on health grounds or special cases.