President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that ‘rude shock’ awaits ‘those unpatriotic elements’ promoting insurrection and burning critical national assets across the country.
The president’s spokesperson, Femi Adesina, in a statement, said Mr Buhari gave the warning after he received a briefing from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, at the State House, on Tuesday in Abuja.
Mr Yakubu briefed the president on a series of attacks on facilities of the electoral body around the country.
There have been several attacks on INEC facilities lately, especially around the South-east and the South-south regions.
Police and prison facilities, including court buildings, have been similarly attacked in the regions.
Several security officials have been killed in the attacks.
Mr Buhari was quoted as saying: “I receive daily security reports on the attacks, and it is very clear that those behind them want this administration to fail.
“Insecurity in Nigeria is now mentioned all over the world. All the people who want power, whoever they are, you wonder what they really want.
“Whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. We’ve given them enough time.”
The president recalled that he visited all the 36 states of the country before the 2019 election, “and majority of the people believed me, and the election proved it”.
He, however, promised to continue leading the country in accordance with constitutional provisions.
The president said those ‘misbehaving’ in certain parts of the country were obviously too young to know the travails and loss of lives that attended the Nigerian civil war.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.
“We are going to be very hard sooner than later.”
The Nigerian civil war, fought from July 1967 to January 1970, led to the loss of millions of lives especially on the side of the South-east Nigeria, renamed Biafra as at then, which had wanted to secede from the country.
Mr Buhari, as a young soldier then, was actively involved in the war – he commanded a company which, together with the support from other formations of the Nigeria Army, captured Afikpo and Ogoja from the rebels, in the early stage of the war.
He was at some point, during the war, posted to Nsukka as a brigade major of the 3rd Infantry Brigade.
The Biafra side was led by Odumegwu Ojukwu, then a Lt. Colonel, who is today revered as a hero among the Igbos.
IPOB, a pro-Biafra group, which has been proscribed by the federal government, is agitating for the independent state of Biafra.
IPOB claims that the Igbos are still being marginalised and persecuted in Nigeria.
The group has been accused as being responsible for the spate of deadly violence in the South-east, including the attacks on police and INEC facilities. But they have repeatedly denied the accusation.
President Buhari, in his meeting with the INEC officials, said the Service Chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police had been changed, “and we will demand security from them”.
On the dangers posed to future elections by the burning of INEC facilities, Mr Buhari said he would give the electoral commission all it needed to operate, “so that no one would say we don’t want to go, or that we want a third term”.
“There will be no excuse for failure. We’ll meet all INEC’s demands.”
Nigeria is currently going through one of its roughest patches yet with mounting insecurity, bloodletting and violence wracking virtually all parts of the nation. The security outfits also appear overwhelmed, having become victims of attacks themselves.
Earlier in his briefing, Mr Yakubu said that, so far, there had been 42 cases of attacks on INEC offices nationwide, since the last general election.
“The 42 incidents so far occurred in 14 states of the federation for a variety of reasons.
“Most of the attacks happened in the last seven months, and they are unrelated to the protests against previous elections.
“From the pattern and frequency of the most recent attacks, they appear to be targeted at future elections,’’ he said.
According to Mr Yakubu, the intention of the anarchists is to incapacitate the commission, undermine the nation’s democracy and precipitate a national crisis.
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