IN a move to protect the Independent National Electoral Commission assets ahead of the 2023 election, the Federal Government has deployed the Department of State Services’ personnel, soldiers, civil defence corps operatives as well as Federal Fire Service personnel in INEC offices nationwide.
It has also directed the security services to enhance intelligence gathering, sharing and utilisation of the same to stem acts of political violence which have assumed an increasing dimension in recent weeks.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, who disclosed these during a meeting with the chairmen of leading political parties at the Force headquarters in Abuja, on Thursday, disclosed that the police recorded 52 violent cases in six weeks.
The meeting, which was attended by the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Iyorchia Ayu, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, the National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Felix Morka, and other parties’ chieftains, was sequel to the attacks on the Ogun and Osun state offices of INEC last week and other incidences of physical violence by party supporters in Borno, Kaduna, Zamfara and other states.
Other participants at the meeting included the National INEC Commissioner, Ms May Agbamuche-Mbo; the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar; the DG, Defence Intelligence Agency, Maj Gen. Samuel Adebayo; a representative of the DG, DSS and other paramilitary agencies.
Baba revealed that the NPF would also be working in collaboration with the Nigerian Army, the Department of State Services, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Fire Service to take decisive lawful action against purveyors of hate speech, incitement to violence, mobilisation of thugs and other violations.
He said, “On our part, and as an outcome of the ICCES meeting, the Nigeria Police Force working in collaboration with other security agencies have resolved to enhance intelligence gathering, share and utilise same to stem acts of political violence; upscale the deployment of security teams to all INEC assets and facilities nationwide with teams drawn from the police, Nigerian Army, Department of State Services, Nigeria Civil and Security Defence Corps and the Federal Fire Service to take decisive lawful action against purveyors of hate speech, incitement to violence, mobilisation of thugs and other violations, including the prompt arrest, investigation, and prosecution of offenders in line with the provisions of Sections 92 and 93 of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.”