By: Joy Odor/Abuja
Members of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under the auspices of Network for Rights of Indigenous and Marginalized People of Nigeria (NRIMPN) and Campaign for Democracy (CD) have protested against the unguarded statements of Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai for issuing death threats to foreign election observers.
The protest which took place in front of the United States Embassy Gate, Abuja witnessed all members of the said organizations been in attendance while submitting a letter titled: A PROTEST LETTER TO FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS THROUGH EMBASSIES AND FOREIGN MISSIONS IN RESPECT OF GOVERNOR NASIR EL-RUFAI’s UNGUARDED STATEMENTS CONCERNING THE FORTHCOMING 2019 GENERAL ELECTIONS to the representative of the US Embassy, name undisclosed.
The signatories to the letter which was submitted on Saturday include: the President of NRIMPN, Comrade Nasiru Jagaba and the President of CD, Comrade Bank Abdul Usman.
While condemning the ‘body bag’s comment of Mallam El-Fufai, the group called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to not only take note, but also open an investigation.
Part of the letter reads: “As citizens and members of the civil society, we are shocked and worried over the overheating of the polity due to unguarded statements and actions by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna state, more so when such statements are targeted at international election observers. Clearly, a group of people led by the combatant governor are bent at creating violence and insecurity in the elections which is just 8 days away.
“To this end, we formally bring to your notice the unguarded statements of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai who has issued death threats to foreign election observers saying should they interfere in any way, they would return to their respective countries in ‘body bags’. His comment is totally condemn-able.
“Our worry however, is the implication of this remark. Governor Nasir el-Rufai has always carried out his threats and as citizens we assure you that the global community that means well for Nigeria and democracy must take seriously whatever has been said by this promoter of anarchy.
“He has declared to everyone not comfortable with how he formulates plans and implements policies of governance under his leadership to go to hell brought about several clashes and cases of killings by a company of young notorious thugs recruited by the governor for his campaign which has claimed over 4 lives so far.
“The retrogressive plot to equip with arms his thug outfits known as the Civilian JTF known as ‘,Kato da gora’ contrary to the NSA’s assurances that no quasi, psuedo security outfit will be allowed to provide security during the general elections. There is no doubt that the governor is already ahead.
“His remarks that has always been targeted at bringing the state to the brink of ethno-religious crises is known to all. Given the history of ethno-religious conflicts in Kaduna el-,Rufai has been leading the pack that disseminate divisive, inciting narratives with deragatory remarks targeted at religious institutions, values and traditions.
“To address the killings by herdsmen militia in parts of Kaduna State Mallam Nasir el-Rufai publicly declared that he used resources from the public treasury to pay ransoms to foreign militias-who are known to him- just to appease them. The killings have however not ended; what has changed is that the same mercenaries are carrying out kidnapping and assassinating citizens including monarchs.
“Worse still, the governor is known to have visited the Inspector General of Police prior to the preparation and deployment of officers who will oversee security in all the states of the nation during the forthcoming general elections. Only recently the Office of the National Security Adviser affirmed on credible intelligence that 7 states are under high risks of kidnapping, thuggery, violence as a result of banditry and even terrorism. It is in relation to this that Governor el-Rufai needs to be watched closely.
“The threat as issued by Governor Nasir el-Rufai leaves not part of Nigeria exempted as the election draws near. Already, like in Kaduna state most of the states in Nigeria have begun to witness vandalism of political campaign materials without any move from security agencies to bring it under control.
“Governor Nasir el-Rufai has participated in every election conducted during the current dispensation especially the states of Ekiti and Osun where violence and thuggery with the involvement of security were deployed to bend rules and secure victory by all means.
“Surprisingly enough is the ongoing distribution of smartphones to polling units in Kaduna. These smart phones contain special apps of the ruling party. Training is said to be ongoing on the use of this suspicious app. This app in these special phones has stirred concern among members of electorate who have since raised concerns over rigging.
“Furthermore, the statements of the governor of Kaduna State can only be dismissed to our peril. The outbreak of violence with the intention to rig can only stir this nation towards the brink of anarchy, a situation el-Rufai is counting upon to isolate states who will not be participating in the forthcoming general elections, damning any consequences.
“It is imperative at this juncture to call on all well-wishers of democracy and Nigeria to partner with the citizenry and enable citizens’ engagement with all critical stakeholders in the electoral process. The sanctity of the ballot in 2019 as far Nigerians are concerned is NON-NEGOTIABLE.
“We call on the attention of the International Criminal Court to take not and open investigations concerning the happenings in Kaduna prepare for prosecution where the governor, his associates are found culpable. This we believe will stall planned activities and prevent the killings of innocent citizens during and after the elections.
“The International Community should prevail on the security agencies, electoral umpire INEC to remain unbaised and ensure that the sanctity of the ballot is not compromised” It Ended.