CISLAC demands Buhari’s comment on ballot box snatching

Staff members of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) return ballot boxes after outside their local office in Port Harcourt, Southern Nigeria on February 16, 2019 after Nigeria’s electoral watchdog postponed presidential and parliamentary elections for one week, just hours before polls were due to open. The two main political parties swiftly condemned the move and accused each other of orchestrating the delay as a way of manipulating the vote. Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP

Don’t lose sleep over statement, HURIWA urges Nigerians
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has demanded immediate retraction of President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to security agencies to deal ruthlessly with ballot box snatchers.

It stated that the President’s comment could embolden trigger-happy security agents to take the laws into their hands and engender extra-judicial killings in the country.

The group expressed surprise at such statement, which it said could be a ‘potential execution order’ from the President, not minding the uncertainty in the nation’s political terrain.

“If not retracted, the President’s comment has the potential of breeding extra judicial killings, civil disobedience or disrupt law and order and gross killing of innocent Nigerians who would be taking part in the rescheduled February 23rd, 2019 polls.”

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, noted that the group would work to uphold democracy and good governance in the country.

He noted that as a civil society group, it was at liberty to remind the President that the primary purpose of government was to promote, protect and secure human rights and fundamental freedom as contained in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, had in a statement, recently threatened international observers who interfere’ with the 2019 elections with ‘body bags’ treatment.

Speaking in Akure yesterday, Musa also described the President’s response as ‘undemocratic and ill-motivated’, stressing that President Buhari and el-Rufai should not to truncate the nation’s democracy, as their comments could spark crisis.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked Nigerians not to lose sleep over Buhari’s shoot on-sight order against ballot box snatchers because the President wouldn’t give such an order in writing.

In a statement issued yesterday, its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, expressed optimism that the Nigerian military is vastly knowledgeable about the extensive ramifications of the universal declaration of human rights and would not act in breach of international practice.

“For the purpose of facilitating the commission of such a crime, aids, abets or otherwise assists in its commission or its attempted commission, including providing the means for its commission; (d) In any other way contributes to the commission or attempted commission of such a crime by a group of persons acting with a common purpose,” it stated.

HURIWA also asked Nigerians to support the military in their lawful duty during the rescheduled polls because: “The Nigerian constitution authorises the military to play these roles and the provisions as enshrined in section 217 (1) of the 1999 constitution.”

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