Today I gave a press statement on the forthcoming 2019 General Elections which will begin this Saturday, 16 February 2019. The statement is a follow up to the just concluded meeting of Armed Forces of Nigeria and security and intelligence agencies.
I stated amongst other things that, in line with our various constitutional responsibilities the all the security agencies have been reviewing our strategies to ensure adequate security and protection for all Nigerians and foreigners before, during and after the elections.
We have also harmonized our strategies through several engagements between the heads of the various security agencies. Furthermore, we have been told by the President, Commander-in-Chief in very clear terms that he is committed to ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
I wish to say that the Armed Forces as well as other security and intelligence agencies are also committed to a violence free elections and that all Nigerians eligible to vote are able to perform their civic responsibilities without fear of molestation by any person or group.
We are not unaware of plans to illegally use uniforms of military/paramilitary agencies to impersonate security and law enforcement agencies; illegally posses and use firearms to intimidate and harass members of the public; and engage in acts likely to breach security.
Let me warn that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will not tolerate any act that is likely to cause security breaches before, during and after the elections. We will deal decisively with these acts irrespective of those involved.
Members of the public are hereby advised to disregard calls in some parts of the country to boycott the elections. The stay-at-home leaflets being circulated and similar online messages are the handiworks of mischief makers who are bent on sabotaging the process. Ignore them.
It is important to reiterate that law enforcement agencies will remain apolitical. Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of Nigeria for the 2019 General Elections have been issued to the Services and security personnel that will be deployed for election security duties.
All other personnel not deployed for election security duties have been directed to steer clear of the election venues except to exercise their rights to vote for candidates of their choice.
I would also like to appeal to all Nigerians to adhere strictly to restrictions on movement during the period of the elections as violators, no matter how highly placed, will be arrested and detained by the appropriate law enforcement agents.
Restrictions on movement do not however apply to personnel on elections security duties, local and international observers/monitors and emergency as well as security services personnel on authorized duties.
Finally, I wish to assure all peace loving members of the public of the preparedness of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and all security agencies to support a peaceful 2019 General Elections and to encourage all to go about their legitimate activities without fear of intimidation.
I also want to encourage us to promptly report all suspicious activities to law enforcement agencies. The general public should rest assured that the security agencies are prepared to support the Nigeria Police for the safe conduct of the elections. Thank you and God bless.