NIA Assures Elections Will Hold As Scheduled

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The Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ayodele Oke, has assured the international community that the country’s general elections, scheduled for March 28 and April 11, would hold as scheduled. Oke, who spoke at Atlantic Council in Washington D.C., said the Federal Government had done was dismantling the social and security challenges that caused the postmen of the elections.

He also assured the International Community the Federal Government’s resolve to ensure the capacity of the armed forces to fight insurgents. ”The March 28 and April 11 elections will take place. The inauguration date of May 29 is sacrosanct.

”The postponement was justified by multiple factors. One major factor is that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was behind in distributing required voter identification cards,” he said.

He said the security challenges that partially contributed to the postponement of the election were being overcome. According to him, in the six weeks following the postponement of the election, the military has reclaimed 14 villages and towns in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe from Boko Haram insurgents. ”For several towns in the northeast, normalcy has been restored with fleeing Internally Displaced Persons gradually returning to their homes.

”Before March 28, no town or village will remain under the control of Boko Haram”, he said. On Boko Haram’s pledge of allegiance to Islamic State, (IS), Oke said though it sounded more like a propaganda, it the Federal Government of Nigeria was not treating it with kid gloves. ”We are not overlooking this. The International Community should take interest in this and step up intelligence. We should all work together on this,” he said.

Also speaking, the Chief of Defence Intelligence Rear Admiral Gabriel Okoi, who was also a guest at the Atlantic Council, said: ”We are wining this war against Boko Haram. ”We will flush Boko Haram from the North East of Nigeria”. Okoi also said that after the military operations, the military would focus on ‘sleeper cells’. ”Before now, Boko Haram seized territory the size of Belgium. But we are happy to say that we have reclaimed 14 towns and villages,” he said.

Okoi called for timely and more intelligence sharing, especially from the U.S. and neighbouring countries with contiguous borders for effective counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operation. He said the increasing threat posed to national security by the Boko Haram required continuous intelligence gathering to bring it to end. ”We need equipment but our friends disappointed us.

”We are not saying that the U.S. has not helped us in training aspects. It is doing its best. But we need equipment,” he said.

Founded in 1961 Atlantic Council is think tank in the field of international affairs. The Council provides a forum for international political, business, and intellectual leaders to discuss. With its headquartered in Washington D.C., it manages 10 regional centres and functional programmes related to international security and global economic prosperity.