Arms proliferation, illicit drugs threat to 2023 election, says Al-Mustapha - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Arms proliferation, illicit drugs threat to 2023 election, says Al-Mustapha

By Editor

The Presidential  candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) Major Hamza  Al- Mustapha (rtd), has raised alarm over the threat posed to the 2023 general elections by illicit drugs and proliferation of small arms and light weapons. 

Al-Mustapha, who served as Chief Security Officer to the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, raised the alarm while speaking at a roundtable discussion with the theme: "Contemporary Security Challenges and their effects on 2023 general elections," organised by the Platinum Post Newspaper, in Abuja. 

The AA presidential candidate urged Nigerians to show more interest in happenings around the political sphere because the outcome of the 2023 elections would have a profound effect on Nigeria’s future. 

He wondered if the srms being brought in under various guises were meant to reinforce the insurgency or to reinforce the “political side “ of it.

Al-Mustapha said, "As of today, all the agencies in Nigeria and I'm sure the representative of the Inspector General of Police, if he's aware of what I'm going to talk about, new discoveries of movements of drugs, arms, are coming into Nigeria through numerous borders and in large quantities. I'm talking of now as I speak. But I'm sure the society is not aware.

"The question is at whose instance are these new weapons coming in? Why the increase? Who are the vendors? Who have sent for it? Is it politicians? What is the plan, can election hold? Has friction started between political parties and candidates and their supporters? 

"The question is who is sending the arms? To reinforce the insurgency or to reinforce the political side of it?

"This is as at now the major issue in the laboratory of national security management of Nigeria, as at now that I talked to you."

Speaking specifically about the possible effect of this on the elections, the retired Military officer said those saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property owe Nigerians a lot more than they are currently offering as service. 

The Ex-CSO further said, “From 1999 to date, if the performance of security managers is to be tabled, it is most unfortunate. There are those who truly worked hard. There are numerous ones who died. Numerous widows were registered in baracks. Orphans are all over. 

"Victims of insurgency are still littered all across the country and are hardly catered for in a country that is rich. With that devastating effect . 

“For 23 years in a country like ours we have not sat down to look at changing our doctrines from military to civil in terms of peace education, peace maintenance, shock into the people and creating remunerations. 

"Here there is leadership deficit at all levels that do not show care to the poor. The security managers of Nigeria are the ones I am talking about. 

“ You would be busy pouring water on stone. But the stone remains the same. When sun comes and wind blows the stone becomes."

Also speaking at the event,  Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, alleged that Permanent Voters Cards are already in wrong hands in the country.

Governor Ortom urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make provision for over two millions Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in his state.

Ortom who was represented by his Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goals, Professor Magdalene Dura,  said, "illegal migrants who crossed our borders with arms are also going to vote to decide who becomes President. There is need for government to ensure credibility of the electoral process."

The Benue state governor equally expressed concerns over the fate of over two million citizens of his state currently in Internally Displaced Person's (IDP's) camps.

He said: "There is lack of equity and justice in Nigeria. INEC needs to have comprehensive data on the IDPS, so that they can create Polling Units for IDPs.

“ Is it not possible for INEC to ensure that those displaced return to their homes to vote? INEC must open discussions with IDPs to know what they need. "

Earlier,  Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who chaired the occasion stressed the need to ensure the safety and security of voters, election personnel, materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media practitioners during the electioneering process.

Ganduje who was represented  by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Usman Bala Mohammed, Ganduje called on the electorates to eschew acts of violence and other negative tendencies that could mar the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

He said:" The importance of the topic in relation to the nation’s current security situation in the face of an election cannot be over emphasized. 

“And more so, my state, Kano is among states in the federation, and particularly in the North that have had one security challenge or the other, which we have, with the will of God the Almighty, been able to surmount. Kano is now one of the most peaceful states in the federation. 

"Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, insecurity is one of the biggest challenges facing the conduct of the 2023 general elections. 

“Ensuring the safety and security of voters, election personnel, materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media and transporters etc is paramount. 

"The responsibility has become more challenging in the context of the current asymmetric security situation in the country. With about a few months until the next general elections, there is no better time for proactive measures than now to ensure that the nation is secure enough for elections to be held across the nooks and crannies of the country. 

"However, despite the severity of the security challenges facing next year’s polls, I believe that the relevant security agencies have the potency to ensure that the process is made peaceful and secure by synergizing effectively, review the operational strategies and optimally deploy all their operational assets towards addressing current and evolving general security threats ahead of the elections."

The Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba-Alkali who was represented by the Commissioner of Police, CP Kene Onwuemelie, assured Nigerians of the preparedness of the police for the elections. 

He said,  "All arrangements have been put in place to ensure a violent-free elections. We are using this opportunity to warn trouble makers to have a change of minds, hence the hand of law will not spare them."

In his remarks, Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, Platinum Post, Edwin Olofu, said, "This year's theme: "Contemporary Security Challenges And Their Effects On The 2023 general elections," is not only timely but very important considering the fact that there is a relationship between security and the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections.

"Going by the campaigns and debates on issues relating to the governance of the country by candidates of the leading political parties, there is no doubt that the election is potentially going to be the most keenly contested exercise in Nigeria's political history. 

"As members of the fourth estate of the realm, it is incumbent on us to mobilise the citizenry to prove the naysayers who are already instilling fears in the minds of the electorates that the election could be marred due to spate of violent crimes in parts of the country.

"The objective of the roundtable is to find answers to some nagging questions posed by the current security situation in the country and mobilise the electorate to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance. “

The event also had in attendance the representative of the Inspector General of Police, Representative of the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Civil Society Organisations and the International Republican Institute (IRI). 

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