*We have lost 1,105 ballot boxes ― Yakubu
National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, has said non-state actors are bent on undermining the democratic process in the country.
Monguno made the declaration, on Thursday, while speaking at an emergency meeting with heads of Security Agencies under the aegis of Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the instance of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The meeting took place at the INEC conference room in Abuja.
The electoral body facilities in Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi states have been torched by arsonists in recent times.
The NSA who maintained that democracy remains the best form of government and the recent outcome of general elections were representative of the people’s mood, assured Nigerians that security agencies were prepared to frustrate the evil intention of those behind the burning of INEC facilities.
He said: “The chairman INEC has already spoken about elections and electoral activities in Nigeria. Of course, elections have become a feature in our socio-political landscape. These are processes that aren’t only the practical expressions of the people’s will but also symbolic of the people’s mood since the dawn of this century. It is therefore important for us to sustain these processes which are undoubtedly not only morally but internationally accepted means of propelling ourselves into development in this century which is extremely turbulent.
“Other Nigerians have a lot of unwanted experiences which have affected the electoral processes, actions that have been carried out by none state actors who are determined to scuttle this process which is supposed to be transparent, which is supposed to allow the people to self-determination.
“Of course, we are gathered here to look at means and ways of stopping quickly the rising spate of criminality, violence and distractions towards the national efforts.
“Of course, the office of the NSA has always remained steadfast, resolute, unrelenting in supporting the efforts of the INEC as well as all agents of government who are compelled to give statutory support to solidify what was started in 1999. We are prepared to make sure that the people’s will be sustained, regardless of whatever happens. We, of course, have to contend with none state actors who are determined to dislodge our efforts but I am hopeful that at the end of this meeting, should be very productive and extinguish whatever plans of the none state actors prepared to be ahead of them.
“I want to encourage my colleagues in the intelligence community to please enhance the efforts of those operational elements that have been supporting our efforts.”
Chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, in his opening remarks disclosed that in the last four weeks, 11 offices of the Commission were either set ablaze or vandalised, with the Commission losing 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles (Toyota Hilux).
He expressed the hope that “by working together with the security agencies, we can stop these attacks and the wanton destruction of critical electoral assets.”
Professor Yakubu restated his fears that the attacks on his Commission facilities “will not only undermine the Commission’s capacity to organise elections and other electoral activities but will also damage the nation’s electoral process and democracy. Indeed, these attacks on the Commission’s facilities should now be treated as a national security emergency.”
He appealed to the gathering of heads of security agencies to devise means towards arresting the activities of the arsonists.
“Under the auspices of ICCES, we should ramp up our activities to curtail these unjustifiable acts of aggression. This will entail not only drawing on our separate and collective resources within ICCES but also increased collaboration with citizens, communities and all stakeholders.”