'We Will Defend Democracy' - Military, Police, DSS Meet Media Ahead of 2023 General Elections As DHQ Establishes Monitoring Team

Ahead of the February 25 General elections in Nigeria, the Nigerian military and the Nigeria Police Force have agreed to synergise to work for a free, fair elections. 

This was disclosed at a Joint security press briefing on 2023 General elections at Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, on the forthcoming general elections.

The Force Public Relations Officers (FPRO), CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi who appeared before Defence correspondents on behalf of other services, said the military and police are collaborating to put measures emplaced to ensure a safe, secure, and conducive environment for the conduct of elections

Adejobi said, the IGP has order restriction of movement on 25th February 2023, which is consequent to the first part of the 2023 General Elections – the Presidential and National Assembly Elections – across all States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) aimed at ensuring public order management, the safety of electorates, as well as assisting the security agencies in effective policing, thereby preventing hoodlums and criminally-minded elements from disrupting the electoral process.

The Force PRO noted that, all security aides and eescorts are banned from accompanying their principals and politicians to polling booths and collation centres during the election as anyone found flouting this directive will be severely sanctioned. 

He emphasizes that only security personnel specifically assigned to election duties are to be seen within and around the designated election booths and centres.

Representing the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, the Director Defence Information, Major General Tukur Gusau thanked the Force Public Relations Officer and commended officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force and urged them to remain vigilant, apolitical, and steadfast in discharging their constitutional responsibilities.

The CDS reassured the public of military support to the Nigeria Police as the lead agency election security management, assured that the AFN is prepared to support the Nigerian Police and other govt agencies responsible for conducting elections.

He said, the CDS has sent out strong messages that the military is committed to total collaboration, saying the elections will be conducted and everyone will be at liberty to exercise his franchise"

The AFN is committed to strong and viable constitutional democracy,we are very loyal to the Nigerian State and we are ready to defend democracy at all cost. 

During the elections, all our normal operations and duties will continue simultaneously across the country. Operation Safe conduct has been activated to provide guidance to the Armed Forces Nigeria during the general elections.

He said, DHQ has established a monitoring team in conjunction with other security agencies that will over see the process in FCT and all 6 geopolitical zones of the country. 

Similarly, operations centres have been established in FCT and the 36 states of the country to serve as quick response centres for all distress calls in the event of any breach of peace during the general election. 

"I want to use this opportunity to re-echo the warning of the CDS to undesirable elements,that the military and other security agencies are ready and will subvert any threats to peace and tranquility, strong force will be applied to those that want to breach of public peace during he general election. The AFN has adequately sensitised it's personnel on their expected roles throughout the period of the elections", he added.

The Department of State Services DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunanya assured Nigeriana of DSS commitment to a peaceful exercise, pledges neutrality, professionalism and good conduct of its personnel to the democratic process. 

Afunanya said it will continue to discharge its mandate of disseminating timely, actionable and proactive intelligence necessary for tactical, operational and strategic decisions even beyond the elections.

According to him, DSS will partner with other sister security and law enforcement agencies; all levels and arms of Government and indeed all stakeholders particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and relevant Non-Governmental and Civil Society Organisations to ensure a hitch free electoral exercise. 

To achieve the desired environment for the elections, the Service engaged in proactive and intelligence-led operations across the States. For instance, on 22nd February, 2023, the Service conducted a legally backed search operation on a property along Airport Road, Nasarawa LGA, Kano State. 

The media brief, well attended by all the public relations officers of all the three services and the Nigeria Police.

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