EU observers to remain in Nigeria despite ‘body bags’ threat from Buhari’s ally

EU observers to remain in Nigeria despite 'body bags' threat from Buhari's ally


The European Union said on Thursday its observers would continue to monitor the Nigeria general elections, one day after an ally of Buhari warned against foreign interference in the fiercely contested poll.

Nasir El-Rufai, governor of the northern state of Kaduna, on Wednesday said people from overseas who sought to intervene in the country’s election would go back in body bags.

“While the security of EU observers is of paramount importance, and will remain under constant review, EU observers will continue their work across the country in the run-up to – and beyond – the 16 February elections,” said the EU election observation mission in a tweet in which it stated that it was aware of the governor’s commen

The governor made the comments during a discussion programme on the Nigerian Television Authority when the topic of the international community’s role in elections was raised.

“We are waiting for the person who will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country,” said El-Rufai.

‘‘We have got that independence and we are trying to run our country as decently as possible.’‘

The European Union, United States and the United Kingdom had earlier expressed concerns over the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen over allegedly breaching asset-declaration rules.

Opposition to review peace pact

The Feb. 16 vote in Africa’s top oil producer pits Buhari, a military ruler in the 1980s who was voted into office in 2015, against main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president in a race widely seen as tight that has become increasingly rancorous in the last few weeks.

Last year Buhari and Atiku both signed an agreement stating a commitment to hold a peaceful election.

Following El-Rufai’s comments, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party said it would be “left with no option than to consider a review of its signatory in the national peace accord” if the ruling party did not stop “comments, threats and incendiary actions”.

The chief justice – who was suspended and replaced with an acting replacement last month – could preside over a dispute over the election result. Nigeria’s judiciary has helped resolve electoral disputes in past votes, some of which have been marred by violence and vote rigging.


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