The Nigerian armed forces are on red alert to foil any possible violence that may erupt after the February 23, presidential and National Assembly elections across the country.
Also on standby are the police, Department of State Security and the various security and para-military agencies in the country.
It was gathered that the service chiefs and the Inspector General of Police have been directed to remain in their respective headquarters throughout the election period to monitor the security situations in the country with a bid to deploying at very short notice.
To this end, most military personnel would be wearing the duty dress (camouflage), throughout this period.
It was further gathered that military authorities and indeed the security agencies were beginning to express worries over intelligence report of a possible breakdown of law and order in some states of the country, which have been labeled as “hot zones.”
Military and police sources said that the commanders and heads of military units, as well as state commissioners of police, have been directed to be on standby and deploy at shortest notice in the event of any unrest caused by the outcome of the elections in their areas of responsibilities.
It was also gathered that the various military service headquarters and the police have been evaluating the performance of their personnel during the elections and the problems they encountered with a view to improving on the forthcoming gubernatorial and state Houses of Assembly elections scheduled for March 9.
It was also gathered that most of the personnel used for the presidential elections would be replaced with new sets of officers.
Recalled that the Nigerian army had raised the alarm over a possible breakdown of law and order after the general elections following intelligence report it said it obtained.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, who raised the alarm at a meeting he held on February 20, with Principal Staff Officers, General Officers Commanding (GOCs), Directors and Commanders in Abuja, said that the army would adopt a proactive measure that would curtail post-election violence and mayhem and ensure such incidence do not occur.
The army chief who listed thuggery, ballot-box snatching, illegal possession of elections materials as some of the causes for post-election violence and mayhem, said: “Such actions can also become more damaging when they are widespread, leading to the destruction of lives and properties.
He said: “Incidences of this nature in previous elections were often planned and orchestrated by politicians and the NA has hitherto been very cautious in its approach.
“However, this time around, the NA will adopt a proactive posture that ensures that similar incidences do not even arise.”
When contacted, Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said “the police are on the ground and our role is to provide security before, during and after the elections and we will continue to do that.
“We don’t shut our shops. The policing shop is open 24/7 and we will continue to provide the needed security for the people of this country.”