There must be consequences for bad behaviour during elections ― Monguno
• We have learnt our lessons ― IGP
National Security Adviser, Major Babagana Mongonu, has said desperate politicians and their agents who indulged in frustrating the electoral process must be prepared to face consequences for their actions.
He made the vow at the weekend at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Security Meeting held at the instance of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The police, Department of State Services and military had been indicted for their alleged indifference and complacency during the last November governorship elections held in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The NSA said his office was prepared in conjunction with other security agencies not to tolerate such henceforth beginning with bye-elections slated for January 25.
He said:” Lessons have been drawn and I want to assure everybody that these lessons are actually going to reflect on the elections that are about to be held early this year.
”We have a responsibility for securing this process. The voters and indeed the wider society has a lot of expectations on us and we need to fulfil the legitimate obligation of the people by behaving in accordance with statutes. Those of us in the security, what we need to do is to address the challenges that we had in previous elections and to ensure that these do not recur. Protecting those who actually engage in the process, INEC and other state official is a responsibility for all of us.
‘It is extremely important for us to know that this time around whatever gave rise to the problems we had in the last election we must be able to deal with. What I want to say is that there must be a consequence for bad behaviour. Bad behaviour not only in relation to criminals, outlaws, people who just want to upset the entire system but our own elements -agents who by design want to scuttle this process will be brought to book. For the first time in the history of this country, we must be able to carry to a logical conclusion any acts that are contrary to what the state has placed. Anybody who behaves outside the confines of legitimacy we have to be dealt with. Anything that is illegal is not going to allow to be pushed under the carpet.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, spoke in a similar vein as he said the police was prepared to curtail excesses of thugs and their sponsors.
“We reiterate our position that in any election that is conducted we learnt a lot of lessons. We saw some areas where breaches took place – ballot box snatching, violence from electorate themselves. From now onwards, we will not tolerate that. We are going to give an example during these reruns. Anybody that comes to disrupt the process, even the security agencies and INEC, serious action will be taken. The same thing with the politicians. If we don’t do this, electoral violence will continue. The rerun elections are going to be a test case.”
Earlier in his opening remarks, INEC chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu restated his call on security agencies to review their security strategies to secure environment for the successful conduct of elections.
”The purpose of security deployment during elections is to protect the voters, election officials and materials, accredited observers, the media and to safeguard the integrity of the processes generally, including the polling units and collations centres. The Commission is concerned that security deployment in some of the most recent elections left much to be desired.
There is more emphasis on numbers of security personnel to be deployed but less consideration on strategic deployment to protect the process, leaving the voters, election officials, party agents, observers, the media and even unarmed security personnel at polling units vulnerable to attacks by thugs and hoodlums. Furthermore, there is an emphasis on numbers of security personnel but less on synergy, coordination and collaboration among the various security agencies in line with the purpose for which ICCES was established in the first instance.
We must adopt a different approach to election security. We must translate the new approach to reality in the forthcoming re-run elections such that Nigerians will see a qualitatively different security arrangement. No thugs and hoodlums can be more powerful than the Nigeria Police and other security agencies. It is the failure to act decisively and collaboratively that encourages thuggery and serves as an incentive for bad behaviour.”