Presidency In Panic; Puts Embassies, Diplomats Under Watch

The Federal Government may have put embassies and diplomats under surveillance over its suspicion that they are interfering in election matters in the country. Daily Independent learnt that the government’s action would be in reaction to the suspicion that these diplomats may have brought in some sophisticated equipment meant for election monitoring and installed them in their embassies.

According to the source, the Buhari Government believes that
the equipment would be used for the forthcoming election. The government’s response, according to highly placed sources, may define the country’s relationship with the international community if President Buhari wins the presidential election on Saturday.

The Federal Government and its security agencies believe that diplomats and their embassies are meddling in the electoral exercise – an action forbidden in diplomatic circles.

“Diplomatic rules forbid diplomats from making comments on Nigeria’s internal matters. We are aware that key politicians and media also encourage this trend,” explained a top security source.

According to the source, all members of the Nigerian intelligence community who frown at this trend have since put some of the diplomats under watch.

“We have no problem with anybody who brings equipment explicitly for polls monitoring, but we frown at the use of such device to compromise our national security,” the source said.

The source further stated that there would be sanctions from the Nigerian government in the event of any diplomatic infractions by embassies and diplomats.

Regardless, international polls observers, including embassies with strong ties to the nation, insist that the February/March elections were very critical not only for the survival of the country, but also for the West African sub-region. They, therefore, insist that the standard of the polls should not fall short of that of 2015.

But there are other versions to the allegations made by government and the threats of sanction on diplomatic missions in Nigeria.

Some sources, however, said what security agencies might be alluding to as “surveillance equipment” could just be the Parallel Voting Tabulation (PVT) system, which is being introduced by opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The PVT, a vote integrity monitoring application, is principally a replica of electronic vote transfer app but with improvements in taking audio, visual tabulation of results, starting from basic polling units.

It was also learnt that its margin of error is single digit, less than 5 percent.

According to PDP's Osita Chidoka, the PVT device was a scientific tool that prevents rigging and assures the credibility of the election result.

“The PVT is a tool that will assure that PDP partisans accept the result of the elections, and that the country remains peaceful and respectful of its differences. We are aware that other PVTs will be conducted by civil societies.
“Hard copies of the signed voter tally provided to all party agents by the NEC officers will be transported to the central command centre should future disputes need to be reconciled.

“We have built a national network of fully equipped situation rooms and call centres. PDP has established a reporting system for the PVT through the wards, to the district headquarters, to the states, to the national tally centre.

“The system has redundancies built at all levels – in the event of an internet or communications shutdown or failure or any other eventualities.”

According to him, the PDP would deploy an unprecedented number of trained party agents to each of the 176,000 polling units across the country to monitor the election.

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