Police claim Oduduwa agitators amassing weapons to disrupt polls
• DSS questions Fani-Kayode over coup allegations • Coup Scare: I regret my action, says Fani-Kayode • Atiku commends DSS for inviting Fani-Kayode, says ex-Aviation Minister not acting alone • NPSA: Idea of interim govt should be shot down, rejected
Ahead of the 2023 general elections scheduled to kick off on February 25 across the country, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, yesterday, disclosed that the police have intelligence Oduduwa Nation agitators have been amassing weapons and mobilising resources towards disrupting the peace, security and electoral process in the Southwest geo-political zone.
Baba made the revelation while addressing Commissioners of Police (CPs) and Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) for the first time this year regarding the elections.
According to him, “other major crimes are the growing activities of the Oduduwa Nation agitators, who from intelligence sources, have been attempting to amass weapons and mobilise other resources towards disrupting the peace, security and electoral process in the Southwest.
“Furthermore, illegal Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) trafficking are being utilised to advance political violence, political extremism and intolerance, while cyber-bullying for political ends is on the rise daily.
“Similarly, violent secessionist campaigns by IPOB/ESN members, which have been targeted at various symbols of democratic governance, including INEC assets, police stations and personnel, as well as other security agencies and government infrastructures, all in an effort to disrupt the elections in the Southeast geopolitical zone.
“Despite the foregoing, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has the responsibility to stabilise the internal security order within the country before, during and after the elections. Consequently, I am reiterating that you ensure no political actor or miscreant is able to subdue any part of the civil space under your command.”
The police boss tasked the strategic police managers to safeguard the public space for elections in active synergy with other security agencies.
While charging them to make certain that quasi-security outfits created and owned by state governments are precluded from election duties, he stressed that national security interest overrides personal interest and as such, in line with directives of Mr. President, the election shall be policed in a civil manner with full compliance with the rule of law.
“Further to this, you are to preclude the activities of quasi-security agents, who may be employed by politicians, from participating in the electoral process. Likewise, ensure that you closely monitor the illicit activities of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), ‘Amotekun’, ‘Ebube-Agu’ and Hunter’s Association and other state-owned security outfits with a view to checkmating their activities within your jurisdictions.”
The IGP also warned all officers to remain apolitical in ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
M, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, told the police leadership and military chiefs that Nigerians and the global community are watching them, as they have high expectations of them to provide adequate security in ensuring peaceful conduct of the elections.
Buhari, who spoke at the Force Headquarters, Louis Edet House, Abuja, while unveiling critical operational assets procured by the NPF, commended IGP Baba for advancing the police reform agenda of his administration and for several other initiatives he had brought to the Force.
President Buhari said: “You should, however, be reminded of my high expectations of your leadership, particularly, in relation to the provision of requisite security that will engender not just stable security space ahead of the election, but guarantee the credibility of the exercise.”
To ensure strict and efficient policing during the polls, the President launched dozens of Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC’s), water canons, anti-riot gadgets and hundreds of patrol vans.
Present at the unveiling were the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Ayo Amao and host, IGP Baba.
IN another development, the Department of State Services (DSS), yesterday, invited former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, for interrogation over allegation of coup against the government.
Fani-Kayode, a spokesman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) was quizzed over his claims that some presidential candidates alongside some generals are plotting to scuttle the elections and carry out a coup against the government.
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, confirmed the development in a statement. “Chief Fani-Kayode has been with the DSS since 9:00a.m. today (Monday) in response to the invitation extended to him by the Service,” he stated.
Upon his release after about six hours of interrogation, Fani-Kayode said he regretted raising the alarm over fear of an impending coup d’etat. Speaking to reporters in Abuja, he admitted that he should have been circumspect before going public on the issue.
He said: “Sometimes, when in the war front, because we are in a war currently on the political front, while experiencing such war there is the fog of war where we say either the right things or the wrong things. Nobody is infallible. But the truth is when it comes to the issue of national security, we have to be careful.”
Acknowledging that the coup alarm raised shock waves across the polity, he explained that his action was aimed at drawing attention of security agencies to be on top of the situation as there was no iota of truth on the matter.
He noted that he had to honour the DSS’ invitation because his hands were clean on the matter, adding that he is under instruction by the DSS to report back every Wednesday of the week pending whether he would be charged to court or the matter will be laid to rest.
Recalling his ordeal in the hands of DSS, he said: “I was subjected to a thorough grilling, they were very inquisitive and very professional. I wasn’t oppressed and they were not acting on the call for my arrest by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
The presidential candidate of PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has commended DSS for inviting Fani-Kayode to explain his allegations and insinuations of an attempted coup being planned by Atiku and top generals.
In a statement by his Special Assistant, Public Communications, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, Atiku called on the DSS not to leave any stone unturned in the course of investigation.
He stated: “We commend DSS for the swift invitation sent out to Fani-Kayode. He must be made to explain his allegation of an attempted coup being planned by Atiku, who even during the military regime never attempted to topple the government despite having the resources.
“Fani-Kayode must also be made to reveal the identities of the so-called army generals who are plotting to overthrow the government of President Buhari.”
Shaibu, who described Fani-Kayode’s attempt to withdraw his comments as an afterthought, said there was an urgent need for DSS and the authorities to ensure that the military is not brought into partisan politics.
He added: “The military has since 1999 pledged its loyalty to civilian authority and returned to the barracks. Unfortunately, Fani-Kayode and others in Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s camp have continued to prod the military by making allegations of coups and interim government.
“Fani-Kayode cannot be acting alone since he is the spokesman for Tinubu. Fani-Kayode and his ilk have been prodding the military for the last one month, talking about how they plan to install an interim government.
“In reaction, President Buhari set up a transition committee that will midwife a smooth transition of another government on May 29. Despite this, the likes of Fani-Kayode have continued to prod the military, propagating theories of coups.”
Atiku asked the DSS to also ask Fani-Kayode to explain his ties to Yoruba Nation agitators, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other separatist organisations threatening the unity of Nigeria.
Similarly, the Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA), led by Prof. Hassan Saliu, has warned against the idea of an interim government being canvassed in some quarters, saying it is a diversionary tact to truncate the democratic rights of Nigerians.
The association, comprising eminent Nigerians like Professors Adele Jinadu, Tunde Adeniran, Nuhu O. Yaqub, W. O. Alli, Jibrin Ibrahim, Attahiru M. Jega, Okey Ibeanu and Marietu Tenuche, said such a step would result in democratic reversals with dire consequences for the country.
This was part of the recommendations of the association at a roundtable held in Abuja physically and virtually, with a panel discussion moderated by Professor Nuhu Yaqub, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja.
The communiqué, which was made available by Prof. Tunde Adeniran, read in parts: “The idea of an Interim Government and various permutations, such as the Doctrine of Necessity, are diversionary and are intended to truncate the democratic rights of Nigerians, and will result in democratic reversals with dire consequences for the country and should, therefore, be rejected and shot down.”
To the electoral umpire, the association said: “INEC should map out areas of insecurity in the country based on levels of insecurity and levels of risks, through the Electoral Risk Management Tool (ERM Tool) it has developed and take preventive measures with security agencies through its Inter-Agency Consultative Committee for Election Security (ECCES) to diminish the risks.”
ALSO, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has raised the alarm that some desperate politicians working for a particular presidential candidate want to sabotage and scuttle the smooth running of the election.
The group said the plan was evidenced by the statement made by the governor of Kaduna State, who claimed in one of his interviews that they have drawn a battle line and have sworn by the sword that they will make APC presidential candidate the next president of Nigeria after President Buhari.
A statement by the National Youth Leader of the MBF, Emma Zopmal, said they were not surprised because the governor has been the most rattled Nigerian over the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Forum, which said it has been fully aware of the governor’s antecedents since 2015 general elections and the role he played, added that they are a socio-cultural organisation that is not partisan, but interested in the political development of the country.