The National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd), reiterated the specter of violence that overhangs the nation barely a fortnight to the 2019 general elections. At a meeting with the 36 governors and security chiefs, NSA Monguno re-echoed an alarm raised a week earlier by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who alleged that government had uncovered opposition politicians’ plot to unleash terrorists, thugs and bandits on the people during the elections.
On his part, Major General Monguno told the governors that, “Recent intelligence reports have indicated plans by some individuals and groups to instigate violence during and after the coming elections.There are indications that these unscrupulous elements are already mobilising merchants of violence, including armed bandits and terrorists to orchestrate violence during the elections in several states of the federation. I will refrain from being specific on some of the plots that have been uncovered, though the security agencies will spare no efforts in dealing appropriately with any act that can destabilize the nation and paint us collectively in a bad light among the comity of states…”
This statement from the nation’s security chief is disturbing, considering the upsurge in terrorist attacks in the country in recent months. Nigerians are living in fear of bandits, kidnappers, and Islamic States of West Africa Province (ISWAP). Government and security agencies should ensure that the merchants of violence are prevented from carrying out their evil acts and brought to book.
The National Security Agencies Act of 1986 is very specific about the role they should play. The Department of State Security is vested with a precise assignment of ensuring internal security. The Act lists its task in Section 9 as (a) the prevention and detection of any crime against the internal security of Nigeria (b) the protection and preservation of all non-military classified matters concerning the internal security of Nigeria; and (c) such other responsibilities affecting internal security within Nigeria as the National Assembly or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.”
From the foregoing, it is the responsibility of the NSA’s office to ensure the security of Nigerians. The primary responsibility of government is to secure the people from internal and external aggression. Therefore, security agencies, instead of giving excuses, should rise to the occasion and secure Nigerians who troop out to perform the civic responsibility of voting for their preferred candidates during the elections.
From Pakistan to Afghanistan to Somalia, it is a known fact that terror groups make a deliberate attempt to truncate democratic elections. This is because they are opposed to Western democracy. Security agencies should be on alert to frustrate their schemes before, during and after the elections. If there are politicians who are in league with such terror groups or who are associated with bandits who plan to unleash mayhem on the country, they should be investigated, arrested and made to face the wrath of the law. In carrying out such duties, security agencies must be honest and transparent. We call on both the ruling party and opposition parties to shun their do-or-die approach to the forthcoming elections. The blood of Nigerians should not be used as rites of passage of any politician to power in Nigeria.