Nigeria closes land borders with neighbouring countries over election
London, Feb. 15, 2019 (AltAfrica)-In preparations for Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections, the Federal Government has ordered the closure of all land borders with effect from 12pm on Friday (today) to Sunday.
Announcing this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, said this was to restrict movements across the borders during the election.
He asked the public to take note and also directed security agencies to ensure compliance.
Meanwhile, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the restriction of vehicular movement from 6am to 6pm on Saturday.
He noted that the restriction would assist the security agencies in effectively policing the electoral process, “thereby preventing hoodlums and criminally-minded elements from hijacking and disrupting the electoral process.”
The force spokesman, Frank Mba, in a statement urged the citizens to go out en masse on election day to exercise their franchise without fear or apprehension.
He noted that the police and other security agencies had put in place adequate security measures to ensure a safe, secure and conducive environment for peaceful and credible elections.
The statement read, “In furtherance of the overall interest of public order, public well-being and safety and national security as it relates to the general elections billed to take place on Saturday, February 16, 2019, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered the restriction of vehicular movement from 6am to 6pm on Saturday.”
While regretting the inconveniences the restriction might cause the citizens, the IG, however, warned that the Force would deal decisively with any individuals or groups that might want to test the will of the police.
He enjoined the citizens to steer clear of vote-buying, vote-selling, hate speech, circulating fake news, snatching of ballot boxes and other acts capable of truncating the people’s will.
Adamu said the Force would not hesitate to bring to bear the full weight of the law on anyone who engaged in crime during the election period.
Violators of movement restriction order’ll be punished – Olonisakin
Also, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, has warned that anybody who violated the restriction of movement on election days will be arrested and detained, no matter how highly placed.
Olonisakin stated this at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja, on Thursday at a press conference on the preparedness of the armed forces towards the elections, adding that security agents not on election duty should come to the polling units to vote without harassing the citizens.
He noted that President Buhari had instructed the military to ensure free, fair and credible elections, saying “all Nigerians eligible to vote should carry out their responsibility without any fear of molestation by any person or group.”
Olonisakin said, “Law enforcement agencies will remain apolitical. Besides, a Code of Conduct for the Armed Forces of Nigeria for the 2019 General Elections has been issued to the services and security personnel that will be deployed in election security duties.
“All other personnel who are not so deployed in election security duties have been directed to steer clear of the elections apart from exercising their rights to vote for candidates of their choice.
“I appeal to all Nigerians to adhere strictly to the restrictions on movement during the period of the elections. Violators of the restriction on movement, no matter how highly placed, will be arrested and detained.
“However, this restriction does not apply to those on election security duties, local and international observers and emergency and security services personnel on authorised duties only.” (Punch)