Two major security agencies have asked that the Edo State governorship election set for Saturday be postponed.
The Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service gave this advice to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday.
It is not clear if INEC will heed the advice of the security agencies.
The election is expected to be strongly fought between the candidate of the incumbent governing All Progressives Congress, Godwin Obaseki, and his PDP challenger, Osagie Ize-Iyamu.
Below is the joint statement by the SSS and the police on the matter.
JOINT PRESS RELEASE BY THE NIGERIA POLICE/ DEPARTMENT OF STATE SERVICES
The Nigeria Police and Department of State Services wish to inform the general public that credible intelligence availed the agencies indicate plans by insurgent/extremist elements to attack vulnerable communities and soft targets with high population during the forthcoming Sallah celebrations between 12th and 13th September, 2016. Edo State, is amongst the States being earmarked for these planned attacks by the extremist elements.
The public would recall that similar threats were issued during the May Labour Day and Democracy Day celebrations as well as the Ed-el-fitr holidays in July, 2016. However, the security agencies were able to decisively disrupt and thwart the insurgents’ plan. In the same vein, while election is important, the security agencies cannot allow the peace of the country to be disrupted, and we will continue to remain vigilant and ensure consolidation of the successes gained in the current counter-insurgency fight.
It is in regard of these that we are appealing to INEC which has the legal duty to regulate elections in the country to consider the need for possible postponement of the date of the election in Edo State in order to enable security agencies deal decisively with the envisaged terrorist threats.
While the Police/DSS remain mindful of the inconveniences this request may cause the various political stakeholders, it is our strong resolve that security agencies need not be distracted from ensuring a peaceful and secured Nigeria now and always.
Members of the public are hereby assured that the security agencies will continue to remain focused and committed and are being enjoined to remain vigilant. The attention of the Security Agencies should be drawn to any observed unusual movements or actions by groups or individuals in their neighbourhoods.
DCP DON AWUNAH, fsi (Force Public Relations Officer) – Nigeria Police Force
GARBA ABDULLAHI – State Security Service
September 7, 2016