The Federal government has raised alarm of a possible plan by the opposition party to violently disrupt the 2019 general elections using the Boko Haram insurgents and armed bandits in some states such as Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara, Sokoto, Borno, Plateau among others.
The Federal Government made the allegation during a world Press conference addressed by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed in Abuja on Monday.
The Minister alleged that the “Federal Government is in possession of credible intelligence to the effect that widespread violence being orchestrated by the opposition is threatening the 2019 general elections.”
He appealed to Nigerians to be vigilant and report every suspected situation to the appropriate authorities.
See full text of the statement:
TEXT OF THE WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE HON. MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, ALHAJI LAI MOHAMMED, IN ABUJA ON MONDAY, 21 JANUARY 2019
Good morning gentlemen, and welcome to this press conference
2. As you are aware, Nigeria goes to the polls just 27 days from now. However, the Federal Government is in possession of credible intelligence to the effect that widespread violence being orchestrated by the opposition is threatening the 2019 general elections.
3. You have definitely seen the massive and warm reception that President Muhammadu Buhari has been receiving across the country, compared to the thinning crowds that have been attending the opposition rallies. Having realized that their fortunes have dwindled badly ahead of the polls, the desperate opposition is orchestrating widespread violence with a view to truncating the elections, thus triggering a constitutional crisis that could snowball into the establishment of an interim government.
4. Before you accuse the government of crying wolf, let me tell you, gentlemen, that we have credible intelligence that armed bandits and Boko Haram insurgents have been mobilized to engage in massive attacks and other acts of violence in several states across the country, including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Benue, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara.
5. The Benue-based armed criminal group, led by Terwase AKWAZA, also known as Gana, has been commissioned to strike soft targets in Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba States. In Kano State, a group of notorious miscreants have been mobilized by some prominent opposition leaders to provoke massive chaos before, during and after the elections. There is also an international dimension to the evil plan. Some armed mercenaries from Niger Republic have been contracted to attack top government functionaries, including state governors, across the North-west between now and the elections.
6. The Federal Government is taking every possible measure to counter these evil plans by unpatriotic anarchists and ensure the success of the 2019 General Elections. The Administration’s commitment to a credible, free, fair and peaceful elections is unshaken. After all, according to the online encyclopedia – Wikipedia – elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century.
7. We appeal to all Nigerians to be vigilant in the days ahead. We also appeal to the media to help in sensitizing members of the public on these observed threats, which are capable of disrupting the elections. The punchline of our long running campaign on security – if you see something, say something – remains relevant, perhaps even more, at this time.
8. Finally, all the relevant agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture will work together to ensure that Nigerians are alerted to the dangers posed to the forthcoming elections by unscrupulous, unpatriotic and desperate characters who will not hesitate to destabilize the country if they cannot achieve their inordinate ambition.
9. I thank you all for your kind attention. I will now take questions that are relevant only to the issues that I have raised at this press conference.