President Muhammadu Buhari has warned politicians about the consequences of their actions, warning them to rein in their thugs or risk commensurate backlash from law enforcement agencies.
The president’s admonition came as the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC also decried the spate of violence in the country, particularly in relation to electioneering ahead of next year’s general election, saying it has tracked 50 incidents of campaign violence in 21 states.
Reading the Riot Act to politicians and their thugs, National Security Adviser NSA, General Mohammed Monguno (retd), said President Buhari has instructed him to convey his directives to the defence, security, intelligence and paramilitary services to be firm in stemming the tide of violence.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to safeguarding and upholding democracy. The president has also given his directive through me to all the operating intelligence and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the 2023 elections are held in an atmosphere bereft, devoid of any rancour”.
According to him, the president is “extremely pleased” with the outcome of elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states and wants a repeat of such performances, which he described as the manifestation of the people’s will triumphing over any obstacle that might dismantle the democracy he is trying to protect.
“I want to assure you that the security agencies have been given clear cut instructions to preempt and deal with any situation on which any group or organization or institution decides to embark on what we consider to be a fundamentally criminal enterprise or undertaking whether it is an isolated incident or collective undertakings.
“Those people who have gangsters working for them, I want to send a very clear warning, a categorical and unequivocal warning to everyone regardless of whichever party, including the party of the president, for as long as you decide to scuttle the electoral process, the law enforcement agencies will equally be uninhibited in reacting to whatever action you have taken. You will be visited with appropriate and commensurate response and I am saying this with all sincerity.
“So, those who think they have a history of organizing and controlling crooks that have an inclination for expressing inordinate behaviour, I want to sound this warning to you; please, reassess, reevaluate your inclination or contemplation. Call your people and advise them that as long as they do not behave in a manner that suggests compliance with the Electoral Law, you will be held accountable.
“Already, the security and Intelligence agencies are tracking these people. Call your thugs and advise them to lay down whatever plans they have, because whoever wins in any state, that party has won. This is the intention of the president of this country. There can be no pretence, no excuse whatsoever”, he added.