Abuja, May 14 (IANS): A Nigerian official said that the country's security forces have been put on standby mode to enhance the arrest and prosecution of individuals engaging in hate speech ahead of the 2023 general election.
Speaking at a meeting organised by the country's electoral body in Abuja, National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno said heads of security and law enforcement agencies have been tasked to step up close monitoring and profiling of political actors who exhibit tendencies to subvert the electoral process, reports Xinhua news agency.
Monguno said the political thugs and their sponsors would equally be under discreet surveillance for arrest and prosecution.
Nigeria will go to the polls next year in a crowded contest, parading many contestants in both the ruling All Progressive Congress and several opposition parties, including the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Monguno said he had noted with utmost concern the growing uncertainty heralding the conduct of party primaries for the 2023 general elections.
"More worrisome is the unguarded utterances of some highly respected individuals and groups, which more often than not amplify divisive narratives to the detriment of national security and stability," he said.
The national security adviser emphasised the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to impress upon political parties the need to consistently abide by prescribed rules as outlined in their respective constitutions.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said that the general security situation in the country and its impact on the electoral process was a source of concern to the commission, vowing that the commission would continue to work with the security agencies to ensure the success of all forthcoming elections and electoral activities.
As the INEC prepared for the 2023 general election, it was also preparing for two off-cycle governorship elections in the southwest states of Ekiti on June 18 and Osun State on July 16, said Yakubu, adding political parties were expected to end their primaries by June 3 at the latest and for their candidates to emerge for public campaigns nationwide.