By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
The spate of arson on states’ offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) in parts of Southeast Nigeria portends grave dangers to the country’s flagging democracy. Stringent measures must be taken to arrest the growing, worrisome developments, former two terms governor of Niger State, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu has said.
The former governor said in an interview that attacks by hooded persons on structures and facilities belonging to the electoral commission and for the Nigerian Police, need to be addressed by government even as he said the country’s security and intelligence agencies must go a step further to unravel those behind the sprawling attacks and their intentions.
Dr Babangida said the arsonists must be fished out, their identities profiled and possibly unearth the surrogate theory of who their sponsors are.
“What is happening in the South is another strand of security challenge. This is not same as the Fulani herdsmen banditry” he argued.
“One is forced to ask; what has INEC office done to warrant the attacks on it’s offices in the affected states” he queried.
Dr. Babangida who is the Chairman of the Forum of Former State Governors in Nigeria, said those who are attacking INEC offices and Police Stations including Correctional facilities are people who want to provoke the country into war and unnecessary bloodshed and destruction.
He expressed worry over the increasing spate of such wanton destruction of the commission’s offices and he thus enjoined security agencies to find an end to the development which he said could erode the commitment of staffers of the electoral body, members of the police force and affect the confidence of members of the public in the commission and the force and as well derail democracy in the long run.
Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, a member of the National Executive Committee, (NEC) of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), and the party’s Board of Trustees, (BoT), said threats by groups posing as ethnic champions or regional hegemony advancers must not be allowed to continue to hold the rest of the population captive by destroying public properties and investments in the name of advancing their course.
The former governor charged authorities to separate the attackers from the bandits and treat them as vandals, agents provocateurs and secessionists under country’s exact laws.
He said the Peoples Democratic Party would not support secession not the call for military intervention in the country.