President Buhari has expressed his satisfaction with the conduct of the November 6th gubernatorial election in Anambra State as giving hope for a similar peaceful conduct and outcome of the 2023 general elections.
The President’s position was conveyed to newsmen at the Presidential Villa by Minister of the Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, after a meeting of heads of security agencies convened and chaired by Buhari.
The election produced former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Charles Soludo, as the Anambra governor-elect with a total of 112,229 votes.
It held in relatively peaceful condition after the President ordered the security agencies to overwhelm the State if there appeared to be trouble during the polls.
The Minister said: “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 that is a good assurance to all Nigerians, that we are committed to promoting democracy, that is in respect of Anambra election.
“The President was particularly happy that a free and fair gubernatorial election held 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 of the people and the government of Anambra.
“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 Minister said Buhari was also particularly happy with the news that the Head of INTERPOL National Central Bureau, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Garba Umar, has been elected Vice President (Africa) and Executive Committee Member of the International Criminal Police Organisation – INTERPOL.
Aregbesola said: “The council was briefed about the election today of a Nigerian, AIG Garba Umaru, who emerged out of the four other candidates, as the vice president of Interpol for Africa, which means that a Nigerian today, represents the 54 African nations at the Interpol level.
“The election took place today (Thursday), a couple of hours ago. And he emerged as the Vice-President of Interpol in Africa, representing the 53 African nations. That too was discussed, appreciated and applauded.”
Asked if the resurgence of criminal activities along Abuja-Kaduna highways was discussed at the meeting, Aregbesola said: “Oh, yes. The police and other security agencies had been mobilized to intensify surveillance, patrol in pursuit of the criminals.
“And it’s not only about Abuja, Kaduna. Yes, 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, 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.”
Asked if the military or the police will be taking the lead, he said: “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.”
On the issue of bandits collecting ransom, taking over and administering some areas in the country, he 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 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 if there were new strategy to that effect as this will not be the first time such charge would be given by President Buhari, the Minister said: “what I know is that for as long as there is life, we must not rest until our objective of making Nigeria safe for Nigerians 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.”
All the same, the President gave marching orders to the security chiefs over the the current insecurity across the country, saying they must not rest until all Nigerians are at rest.
“The president said 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 rest”, Aregbesola added.
Present at the meeting 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 Leo Irabor.
The three service chiefs of Army, Navy and Air Force as well as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, were also in attendance.