Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, the Director of Defence Information, reiterated the military’s warning to dissenting groups, emphasizing that any threats to the transition program and democracy would face decisive action.
Earlier, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, had issued a stern warning, vowing to crack down on potential threats to national security and cautioning troublemakers against challenging the military’s resolve.
When asked about the readiness of the military to address threats to the inauguration ceremony, Gusau affirmed their commitment to the earlier warning issued to groups advocating for an interim government. He confirmed that preparations for the event were underway and announced that the military was prepared to neutralize any potential threats.
“We are already doing our rehearsals for the march past parade,” he noted.
The Inspector-General of Police (IG) addressed journalists at a press briefing in Abuja, stating that the police and other security agencies are fully prepared to handle any attempts by aggrieved political actors and their supporters to disrupt the swearing-in ceremony.
This warning came as the Defence headquarters and the police issued similar cautions, coinciding with the scheduling of a Federal High Court hearing on Thursday for a case seeking to halt the inauguration of the former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
The court requested the applicants to establish their standing, jurisdiction, and whether a similar matter is pending before the presidential elections court. Amidst calls for an interim government and alleged incitement against Tinubu’s inauguration, the IG stressed that those involved in any plot to destabilize the presidential inauguration should refrain from such actions, as the security agencies are committed to protecting democracy in the country.
He stated, “The Nigeria Police hereby sternly warns all political actors with subversion agenda and their collaborators, particularly, their foot soldiers who they are exposing to political radicalization and extremism to, subsequently, jettison their ongoing deliberate attempts to create tension within the national space to derail the May 29, 2023, Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.
“Any such persons, regardless of their political affiliations, who continuously engage in acts that are inimical to our nation’s democratic and security interests should not be in doubt of the firm determination of the Nigeria police under my watch to closely collaborate with the law enforcement family and the intelligence community to defend our democracy, keep the internal security order stable and optimally deploy our common unique assets towards guaranteeing the successful conduct of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.”
The police chief issued a cautionary message to the citizens, urging them to remain vigilant and aware of certain political elements’ actions that may attempt to manipulate their political fervor for their narrow, undemocratic, and unconstitutional agendas.
He advised the citizens to resist such manipulation, carry on with their lawful activities, and prepare to actively contribute to the progress of democracy by freely participating in the inauguration ceremonies. He assured them that the Nigeria Police Force had acquired sufficient resources to ensure their protection.
Additionally, the police chief encouraged Nigerians to promptly report any attempts by misguided political elements to infiltrate their ranks and create political tension in the country. He assured the public that appropriate law enforcement measures would be taken in response to such incidents.
Court adjourns suit
Justice Ekwo has postponed the case hearing seeking to prevent Tinubu’s inauguration as President until May 18, so the plaintiffs can respond to issues of locus and jurisdiction. The plaintiffs claim that Tinubu failed to obtain 25% of the votes cast in the FCT.
The lawsuit, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/578/202, is brought by Anyaegbunam Ubaka Okoye, David Aondover Adzer, Jeffrey Oheobeh Ucheh, Osang Paul, and Chibuke Nwachukwu on behalf of themselves and other residents and registered voters in the FCT, seeking an order from the court restraining the Chief Justice of Nigeria and any judicial officer or authority from swearing in any candidate in the February 25 presidential election as President or vice president.
The applicants are requesting the court to invalidate the certificate of return given to Tinubu and prevent the Chief Justice of Nigeria and any other judicial officer from swearing in any candidate as President or vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria until the matter is resolved in court.
Furthermore, the applicants are seeking clarification on section 134(2)(b) of the Constitution concerning candidates in the February 25 presidential election who failed to meet the requirement of obtaining 25% of the votes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
They are also seeking a declaration that no candidate in the February 25 presidential election can be validly sworn in as the President and Commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without meeting the condition of securing 25% of the votes cast in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The plaintiffs are also seeking a declaration to extend the tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari until a successor is determined following the Constitution.
During the proceedings on Monday, the plaintiff’s counsel, Chuks Nwachukwu, informed the court that they had filed an ex parte application and originated motions to refer the constitutional matters to the Court of Appeal for interpretation.
In an interview with our correspondent, Nwachukwu emphasized that the President-elect did not fulfill all the requirements necessary to assume the office of the President.
He argued that the notion that past presidents had pending petitions during their inauguration did not hold merit, as those presidents had met all the requirements specified by the Constitution.