2023 Elections: We’re ready to defend democracy at all cost — Nigerian Army


The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, declared yesterday that elections will hold in every part of Nigeria and that the Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies were ready to defend democracy at all cost.

Acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, quoted the CDS as urging Nigerians to discountenance any threat that elections would not hold in certain parts of the country “The Armed Forces of Nigeria is committed to strong and virile constitutional democracy. We are very loyal to the Nigerian state and are ready to defend democracy at all cost.

”During the election periods, all our normal operations and duties will continue simultaneously across the country,” General Irabor was quoted as saying.

The Acting DDI spoke at a joint media briefing with the spokespersons of the Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Service, DSS, as well as those of the Nigerian Air force and the Nigerian Navy

Disclosing that “Operation Safe Conduct” for the elections had been activated to provide guidance to Armed Forces of Nigeria during elections, Gusau said:  “DHQ has established a monitoring team, in conjunction with other security agencies, that will oversee the process in FCT and the six geo political zones in the country.

“Similarly, operations centers have been established in FCT and 36 state capitals of the federation to serve as quick response centers for all distress calls in the event of any breach of peace during the election period.

He re-echoed the warning of the CDS to undesirable elements that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies were ready to subvert any threats to peace and tranquility.

“Strong force will be applied to those that want to cause a breach of public peace during the general elections. The Armed Forces of Nigeria, AFN, has adequately sensitized its personnel on their expected roles throughout the period.”

On its part, the DSS said that between Saturday, February 18 and Wednesday , February 22, 2023, its operatives uncovered and arrested many gunrunners with several quantities of arms and cache of ammunition meant for bandits and criminally-minded persons, obviously targeted at carrying out sinister actions against the peaceful conduct of the general elections.

Spokesman of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunnaya, who disclosed this at the briefing, said:  “To achieve the desired environment for the elections, the Service engaged in pro-active and intelligence-led operations across the states. 

”For instance, on February 22, 2023, the Service conducted a legally-backed search operation on a property along Airport Road, Nasarawa LGA, Kano State. During the operation, it recovered dangerous weapons, including a gun, daggers, swords, jack-knives from the said building.

“Therefore, the accusation that the Service intimidated a particular political party in that state is untrue; otherwise, how come those weapons were found there? Are those objects of violence campaign materials? 

”Whether in Kano or elsewhere, the DSS has provided equal opportunities for all political parties to engage in their lawful activities. We can say this without any form of contradictions or equivocations.

“On the same February 22, 2023, the Service arrested a gunrunner, Aliyu Yahaya, an associate of Kachalla Damina, a suspected bandit who operates around Dansadau, Zamfara State. Items recovered from Yahaya include: one GPMG Rifle; one chain of ammunition, 190 rounds of GMPG Ammunition, 28 rounds of AK47 Ammunition and One (1) grenade. The suspect was going to deliver the armaments to Damina.

“In Kaduna State, two arms, couriers, namely Tukur Usman and Illiyasu Adamu, were arrested at Chikun LGA, on  February 20, 2023. 372 rounds of 7.62 units of 39mm ammunition; 26 rounds of live ammunition for GPMG rifle were recovered from them. They are suspected arm suppliers to bandits in Zamfara State.

On his part, the Force Public Relations Officer, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, reiterated the warning of the Inspector General of Police to escorts and aides of VIPs and governors not to perform escort duties, blow siren or move in vehicles without plate number and those that are tinted, noting that the Police would send out monitoring teams to apprehend any violator of these directives.

He said governors were only allowed to move with their ADCs, orderlies and a few escort personnel.

While urging active electorate, those from 18 years and above with their PVC’s to come out and vote without fear, let or hindrance on Saturday, he advised inactive voters, those without PVC, who had nothing to do with the election, to remain at home to avoid causing trouble.

For those whose polling units are far off or distant to their abodes, Adejobi advised them to move to locations near their polling units or wake early and move to their polling units before voting starts.

“To those who believe they have monopoly of violence, that man who thinks he can pull the trigger may not be alive to see the end. So they should steer clear of the polling centers,” he said.

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