Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Four months ahead of the 2019 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari thursday presided over a security council meeting with a resolve to deploy security forces to states.
According to a statement made available to journalists at the end of the closed-door meeting by the Minister of Defence, Col. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd.), the meeting deliberated on the immediate need to deploy security personnel to states to douse tension created by post political parties’ primaries.
The statement signed by the Public Relations Officer to the Ministry of Defence, Col. Tukur Gusau, added that the meeting reviewed the general situation of the country in relation to the forthcoming polls.
It also said the recommendation of immediate deployment to states was aimed at combating moves by unscrupulous individuals to sabotage the electoral process.
The statement also said the meeting viewed some recent demonstrations against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as ploys to put the commission under pressure.
Gusau also said the meeting expressed concern over stockpiling of arms by some desperate individuals ahead of the elections as well as plans by others to orchestrate post-election violence by whipping ethno-religious sentiment.
Finally, Gusau added that the meeting ordered the security forces to ensure hitch-free 2019 polls, adding that the National Orientation Agency (NOA) was also charged to educate voters ahead of the elections.
“The National Security Council held at the State House Abuja on October 18, 2018.
“The meeting started by discussing the general overview of the security situation in the country as it relates to the conduct of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
“It recommended deployment of security agencies to states to enable the elections to be conducted peacefully and to further douse tension created by the outcome of the political parties’ primaries and some desperate persons to sabotage the electoral process.
“The meeting 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 (sic) hijacked by hoodlums and armed bandits.
“Another 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.
“The council called for the concerted efforts of all security agencies to ensure that 2019 elections are hitch-free and the need for continuous sensitisation of the public by National Orientation Agency (NOA) and regular meetings of relevant stakeholders including INEC, international/ local observers and the media ahead of the elections.”