President Muhammadu Buhari has described the recently concluded Anambra State governorship election as free and fair, praising the role of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies in making it possible.
This was disclosed on Thursday by the minister of interior, Rauf Aregbesola, while briefing correspondents on the outcome of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting presided over by the president at the presidential villa, Abuja.
He said the manner of conduct of the November 6 Anambra State governorship election is an indication of the administration’s commitment to promoting democracy and guaranteeing the success of the 2023 elections.
He said Buhari however, charged the security agencies to do more to tackle the insecurity confronting the country.
Ategbesola said: “Well, the president received briefs from all the heads of security services in Nigeria, the security agencies and intelligence organisations on security nationwide.
“While appreciative of the successes and gains made by all the security agencies from the armed forces of Nigeria to police and intelligence organisations, as well as other security agencies, he is of the belief that more must still and should still be done.
“But he commended all of them for the progress we are recording on all fronts.
“The president was particularly happy with the fact that a free and fair election was made possible by the INEC and our security agencies. And that is a good assurance to all Nigerians, that we are committed to promoting democracy, that is in respect of the Anambra election.
“The president was particularly happy that a free and fair gubernatorial election in Anambra. And he was quite happy that the combination of INEC and the security agencies, from the military to the police and all the other agencies made that possible with the support for the people of Anambra and the government of Anambra. And we all saw the outcome.
“With that, there is no doubt as to the commitment of our administration, to promoting democracy, and ensuring that 2023 is not in any way threatened.”
The former Osun State governor revealed that Buhari impressed it upon the nation’s security outfits to redouble their efforts to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and other criminality in the country.
“And that the armed forces of Nigeria, and other security agencies, intelligence organisations, must not rest on their oars, as we are making progress in our effort to eliminate insurgency, banditry, kidnapping for ransom, and all the other criminalities, that we are not yet where we should be, that Nigerians deserve to live in peace. And that until we achieved that we will not arrest,” he added.
On whether the council discussed the resurgence of criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highway, he declared: “Oh, yes. The police and other security agencies had been mobilized to intensify surveillance, patrol and pursuit of the criminals. And it’s not only about Abuja, Kaduna. Yes, the Abuja-Kaduna belt was discussed specifically, but we appreciated the fact that we are in the season of festivity.
“So, all agencies committed to providing security for Nigeria and the maintenance of law and order, they have been ordered to improve on their activities, intensify surveillance and minimize, if not eliminate totally, any threat to law and order anywhere in Nigeria.
“Police, as I said, is the lead agency on internal security. So, whatever I’ve said about maintenance of law and order will start with the police and then extend to all the other security agencies. Certainly.”
He further said: “Specific orders have been given to all our security agencies. And we’ll see an improved response to all those challenging the sovereignty of Nigeria in whatever form and creating insecurity in whatever form anywhere.
“The council today took the firm decision on what to be done and I can assure Nigerians that with the charge from the president and the commander in chief of the armed forces today, there will be an improved response to all forms of criminality in any part of Nigeria.”
Asked what will be different since the president had given several charges in the past but the insecurity persists, Aregbesola noted: “But what I know is that for as long as there’s life, we must not rest on till our objective of making Nigeria safe for Nigerian is made possible.
“So, I am convinced that with the renewed charge to our security agencies, from the military to the police, intelligence organizations and all other security forces, certainly Nigerians will feel and live better going forward.”
He informed that the council was briefed on the election of a Nigerian, Garba Umaru, an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) as the vice president of Interpol for Africa.
In attendance at the NSC were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Prof Ibrahim Gambari; National Security Adviser (NSA), Major General Babagana Monguno (retd) and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor.
Also at the meeting were the Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Baba Alkali and wife of the ADC, Dr Hindatu Bashir
Before the commencement of the meeting, President Buhari decorated his Aide De Camp (ADC), Lt Col Yusuf Mukhtar Dodo, with his new rank of Colonel.