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Outrage As Buhari Says Death Awaits Ballot Box Snatchers

Lawyers, human rights activists, politicians, and prominent Nigerians on Monday lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring that death awaited ballot box snatchers during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Buhari had stated at APC caucus meeting, “I do not expect anybody to cause any disturbance. The security agencies have identified hot spots and flashpoints and should be prepared to move. We have made as much arrangement as possible for them as much as the country can afford.

“Anybody who decides to snatch ballot boxes or leads thugs to disturb the process, maybe that will be the last unlawful action you will take.

“We have directed the military and other security agents to be ruthless. We are not going to be blamed that we want to rig elections.”

The President noted that he did not need anyone to cause violence on his behalf as he was popular enough to win the presidential election without ballot boxes being snatched for him.

The President added, “I want Nigerians to be respected and let them vote whoever they want across the parties. I am not afraid of that. I went round the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory and I think I have enough support across the country to vote for me.

“So, I want to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch ballot boxes or disturb the voting system, he will do it at the expense of his own life.”

Buhari inciting military, police against Nigerians – PDP 
National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has said President Buhari in his alleged desperation to cling on to power has given marching orders to the military and the police to help leaders of the APC to oppress voters.

He said the President’s remarks amounted to what he called a declaration of war on the Nigerian voters and a direct incitement against them.

Secondus in a statement in Abuja on Monday said , “The President’s confirmation that he has directed the service chiefs to kill Nigerians is nothing but a pre-determined script hatched by the ruling party to create voter apathy and implement their result replacement plans using thugs protected by the military.”

It’s a call for extrajudicial killings – Dogara, civil rights groups 
Also, some civil rights groups and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have described Buhari’s order as a call for extrajudicial killings.

Dogara, at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, in his reaction, said, “The President said, ‘anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb the elections, maybe that would be the last unlawful action you would take. I have given the military and police the order to be ruthless. I am going to warn anybody who thinks he would lead a body of thugs in his locality to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system; he would do it at the expense of his/her own life.’

“Mr Oshiomhole also claims that the PDP was given prior notice of the postponement of the elections.

“In this context, we categorically deny these false claims and unnecessary blackmail and regard the President’s statement as a call for extrajudicial killings, considering the fact that there are adequate provisions in our laws to address electoral offences.

“These statements clearly indicate that our democracy has become the victim of a full-blown dictatorship, when one considers that a democratically-elected President would give a directive that is in clear violation of the laws of the land which by his oath of office he is to defend and protect.”

Don’t kill electoral offenders, Falana tells security agents 
Speaking in the same vein, a human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), urged security agents “not to risk their own lives by engaging in extrajudicial killing of ballot snatchers and other electoral offenders.”

He said, “It may interest President Buhari to know that due to the culture of impunity in the land the hundreds of electoral offenders including sponsors and perpetrators of politically-motivated killings arrested by the police in the last six months have been let off the hook due to pressure from highly-connected criminally-minded members of the political class.

“I am tempted to call on the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar SAN, to advise the President to withdraw the illegal directive as soon as possible..." 

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