The Federal Government on Monday threatened to deal decisively with criminal elements who are bent on scuttling next month’s governorship election in Anambra.
The National Security Adviser, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), gave the warning during a meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja.
He assured that security agencies would do all within their power to ensure a hitch-free election in the state.
The NSA appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staff not to be discouraged by the challenges they will face during the election but to give their best.
Monguno said: “For those of us in security, we have already done most of what we are supposed to do.
“All the law enforcement agencies and security agencies have been charged to conduct themselves in a manner that will command the general widespread respect of all the people of Anambra state and, by extension, the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“They have been asked, charged to exhibit the highest level of professionalism, patience, perseverance, and self-restraint.
“We have been told to operate within the confines of the law, and not to go out and exhibit tendencies that would jeopardize this exercise.
“I want to reassure the general public that the security agencies are going to do everything within their power to ensure that the people of Anambra State undergo this exercise without any incident.
In the same vein, 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 that are unusual to destabilise 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 for anyone to go out and ignite something that might cause pain for the good people of Anambra State — the peace-loving people — under whatever guise.
“Please, think again because the law enforcement agencies, inasmuch as we will operate in accordance with the requirements of their profession, will not sit by idly and allow people to start looting, destroying public property, and resorting to not just intimidation, terrorizing people, possibly arson and even homicide.
“This will not be accepted. Law enforcement agencies have been asked to watch out for such elements. Because what you start, you don’t know how it will end.
“There is no need embarking on an exercise of self delusion, futility or some form of tangle.
“Please, I am appealing to you, we are all brothers. Stay within your wards, your local government and let us have a peaceful election.
“For the security agencies in the wards, any rogue element that decides to behave in a manner that will tar our collective institutions in very dark colour will be brought to justice in accordance with the rules of those institutions.
“Do not do anything that will harm this process.
“Finally, I want to encourage agents of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“I know you have gone through a lot of pain, a lot of losses with your colleagues from the Nigeria Police Force and other agencies, do not allow what has happened in the past to dampen your spirits.
“Do not allow it to drive you into a state of lethargy. Please continue to support the leadership of INEC and let us get this job done.”