The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, has insisted that politicians who fear that the may lose the coming elections are plotting to disrupt the exercise.
But he has warned that security forces will deal with anyone caught in such acts.
Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had earlier accused the opposition of working with terrorists to truncate the elections to pave way for an interim national government.
Speaking along this line, Monguno said intelligence reports show that there are plans by some individuals and groups to foment violence during and after the elections.
“Reports reaching me have revealed that some individuals that are uncertain of their fate in the elections are plotting to participate in widespread violence aimed at scuttling the polls,” he said.
Speaking at a meeting with the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) at its national secretariat in Abuja on Tuesday, he warned politicians against arming thugs during the elections as it will not be tolerated by the government.
The NSA remarked that the strategy of the politicians is to cause crises that can spiral out of control for the government and the people.
He added: “There are indications that these unscrupulous elements are already mobilising merchants of violence, including armed bandits and terrorists to cause problems across the country.
“I will refrain from being specific on some of the plots that have been uncovered, though the security agencies will spare no efforts in dealing appropriately with any act that can destabilise the nation.
“In this regard, we owe Nigerians the duty to protect and preserve their lives and property regardless of our individual or group aspirations.”
However, he reiterated that the government will not accept any thuggery of the bearing of illegal weapons, saying: “Government will demonstrate zero tolerance to political thuggery and illegal bearing of firearms.
“I wish to restate that our doors are always open to collaborate and act proactively to maintain the sanctity of Nigeria.”
Monguno revealed that all state commissioners of police have been instructed to arrest anyone who bore fire-arms illegally or engaged in acts of violence during the elections.
While noting that no pseudo or quasi-security outfits, such as vigilante groups will be allowed to participate in election security duty during the elections, he said that government is doing all that is necessary to create an enabling environment for the conduct of peaceful elections in the country.
He assured of the neutrality of the security agencies which he said remain neutral against the backdrop of allegations in certain quarters.
Towards this, he said the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) had organised refresher courses for its personnel that will be deployed for election duty.
Monguno noted that ONSA and all government security agencies are fully prepared for the election and willing to cooperate and partner with state governors in the area of security.
The meeting, which was at the instance of the NSA, was called to update the governors on the security situation in the country as it heads to elections.
The NSA sought the buy-in of the governors in the implementation of security measures for the smooth conduct of the elections.
The security deliberation was the only item on the agenda of the meeting.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, the Chairman of NGF and Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, expressed concerns over the proliferation of arms and ammunition in the country ahead of the February 16 general election.
He said the governors are also alarmed over the spate of kidnapping across the country.
Yari disclosed the governors have recommended a stronger collaboration and intelligence sharing amongst security agencies to ensure that lives and properties are protected.
According to him, the governors have further resolved to collaborate with security agencies to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.
He said: “Governors as major stakeholders, they seek our cooperation so that their job would be easier. We promised to do our best and ensure the election is free and credible. Not only that, we came through the ballot box and we are going through the same process to seek reelection and make sure that the election is free and is commended by the international community as they did in 2015.”
Also speaking, the Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu reassured Nigerians of a violence-free poll.
He assured further that the security agencies are ready for the election and will ensure that they mop up illegal arms in the system,
The police boss similarly assured of the neutrality of the police which he said should not be in doubt during the election exercise.