Ahead of Saturday Presidential and National Assembly Elections, the military, police and Department of State Services have set up joint operations centres in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Gusau, disclosed this at the joint news conference with the spokespersons of the services, police and DSS on Thursday in Abuja.
Gusau said the military and other security agencies had put adequate measures in place to ensure the successful conduct of the elections across the country.
He said that the Chief of Defence Staff, service chiefs and heads of other security agencies had met and assured the nation that the security agencies were set for the conduct of a hitch free elections in the country.
He said they had also assured that the armed forces was prepared to support the Nigeria police and other government agencies responsible for the conduct of elections.
“The CDS has sent out strong messages that the armed forces is committed total collaboration with other security agencies to ensure this election is successful.
“In the words of the CDS, the elections will be conducted and everyone will be at liberty to exercise his franchise.
“The AFN is committed to strong and viable constitutional democracy. We are very loyal to the Nigerian State and we are ready to defend democracy at all cost.
“During the elections, all our normal operations and duties will continue simultaneously across the country and Operation Safe conduct has been activated to provide guidance to the armed forces during the general elections,” he said.
According to him, DHQ has established a monitoring team in conjunction with other security agencies that will over see the process in FCT and all six geopolitical zones of the country.
“Similarly, operations centres have been established in the FCT and the 36 states of the country to serve as quick response centres for all distress calls in the event of any breach of peace during the general election.
“I want to use this opportunity to reecho the warning of the CDS to undesirable elements, that the armed force and other security agencies are ready and will subvert any threats to peace and tranquility.
“Strong force will be applied to those that want to breach of public peace during he general elections,” he said.
Gusau said the military had adequately sensitised its personnel on their expected roles throughout the period of the elections.
On his part, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said the military and the security agencies were together in protecting the nation’s democracy and work towards having a good transitional progresses in Nigeria’s democracy.
Adejobi said the readiness of the security agencies towards the presidential and national assembly elections on Saturday.
He said that movement restriction would start from 12.01am to 6pm of Saturday, saying there would be no vehicular, Okada or tricycle movement or boats on water ways.
According to him, restrictions order is very key for them to have a well organised security arrangement for the success of electoral process.
“Exceptions to this restrictions include accredited members of the press. Only those accredited by INEC will be allowed to move from one point to another .
“Security agencies do not accredit journalists, INEC has done that and giving them tags.
“Don’t move out without your tag so that you will not be embarrassed.
“Those on other essential services such as the firefighters, ambulances responding to medical emergencies and some other people that we know that they are on essential services such as telecoms have been given a waiver to move around to ensure that our systems still work while the elections last.
“Let me quickly say again that the banned on unauthorized use of vehicles, sirens, revolving lights ,covered number plates , unregistered vehicles, tinted glasses is still in force,” he said.
Adejobi also warned officers and men attached to VIPs and politicians as escorts or aids to stay away from polling units during election.
He said that only governors were expected go out with ADCs but not with large number of security operatives.
According to him, any other person who does not enjoy any constitutional immunity but has privileges of having security personnel as aides or escorts will not be allowed to go out to any polling unit with his security operatives.
He said the issue had been discussed at various meetings at the instance of the CDS to ensure that all security agencies would be on the same page.
“We are ready to protect democracy, we are ready to give good security to our electoral process so that we can have free, fair, credible and even acceptable general elections in 2023,” he said.
The spokesperson for the DSS, Dr Peter Afunanya, assured of the service’s commitment to a peaceful exercise.
Afunanya gave assurance that the DSS would ensure neutrality, professionalism and good conduct of its personnel to the democratic process.
He added that the service would continue to discharge its mandate of disseminating timely, actionable and proactive intelligence necessary for tactical, operational and strategic decisions even beyond the elections.
“Also, it will partner with other sister security and law enforcement agencies; all levels and arms of Government and indeed all stakeholders particularly the INEC and relevant Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations to ensure a hitch free electoral exercise.
“In this regard, we call on all citizens and residents to be law abiding before, during and after the elections. Eligible voters are enjoined to cast their votes without any form of violence and also maintain the peace after that.
“To achieve the desired environment for the elections, the Service engaged in proactive and intelligence-led operations across the States.
“In discharging its mandate, the DSS will be fair, objective, transparent and accountable but like the President has directed, “Firm and Courageous”.
“It will abide by the rule of law and comply with the tenets of democracy. The Service will be decisive in the implementation of its responsibilities and this will be done without let or hindrance,” he said.
Afunanya advised members of the press to make deliberate effort to shun fake or misleading news.
According to him, unverified and unsubstantiated news could cause harm to the election and its outcomes and could also incite violence.
“ To strengthen these efforts, the service has consolidated its public communication platforms.
“For ease of access, its website (www.dss.gov.ng) will remain interactive as ever; same with the email (email@example.com). Citizens and residents are at liberty to reach out to any of our offices nationwide.
“Open lines at the Headquarters are: +234 9153391309, +234 9153391310, +234 9088373514.
“The Service Command offices at the local government and state levels have been directed to assist the Police which is the lead agency in the exercise to ensure adequate security,” he said. (NAN)