I didn’t condemn Bayelsa, Kogi Guber polls, says NSA
The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, has denied media reports that he condemned the November 16, 2019, gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States.
The NSA was reacting to the opinion he expressed through his representative, Sanusi Galadima, during last Wednesday’s meeting of the Inter-Agencies Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja, where he was quoted as describing the elections as “fiasco where the unthinkable happened.”
In a statement issued by his office yesterday in Abuja, Monguno said there was no difference between the position of the Nigeria Police Force and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on the two elections.
The statement noted that both agencies had condemned the unfortunate death of a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women leader in Kogi State, Mrs Salome Abuh, adding that the police had already made arrests while all the security agencies were working to identify other perpetrators of election violence for prosecution.
The ONSA also noted that only the courts are empowered by law to handle and determine issues arising from the conduct of the elections, stressing that ONSA, ICCES and other security agencies involved in election security would continue to identify the gaps for free, fair and credible elections in future.
The statement read in part: “Our attention has been drawn to media reports following the meeting of the ICCES held in Abuja. The ICCES is an inter-agency platform through which the ONSA supports election security coordination, identify challenges and strengthen national capacity to ensure the safety of the electoral process.
“The National Security Adviser did not condemn the gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States and is not in any position to do so. Neither the ICCES nor the ONSA are in a position to pass verdict over the validity of gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States as some reports suggest. Only the courts are empowered by law to determine issues arising from the conduct of the elections.
“The planning and management of the electoral process is a continuous undertaking and through the ICCES, we are identifying the challenges recorded in the recent polls and working with all stakeholders to ensure that the outcomes of future polls are improved.
“As emphasised during the ICCES meeting, the ONSA will continue to work with law enforcement and security agencies involved in election security to identify gaps, strengthen our collective preparedness and ensure that future elections are safer and conducive.”