Politicians, human rights activists, lawyers and prominent Nigerians on Monday attacked President Muhammadu Buhari for declaring that death awaited ballot box snatchers during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections.
The President said this at the meeting, which was convened by the APC to review the poll delay and discuss other plans by the party ahead of the elections on Saturday.
Buhari stated, “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.”
Speaking further on efforts made to ensure that INEC succeeded, Buhari recalled that even the National Assembly had to make necessary approvals for the umpire.
He added, “If for example, the National Assembly refused to approve what they wanted, INEC would have had moral reasons why they couldn’t perform. If the time of four years of election was not constitutionally obeyed, the government and INEC would have a case.
“But we don’t understand the reason for this inefficiency and we have to go into details after the election to find out who is responsible.”
However, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, 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.”
He expressed shock that a Commander-in-Chief who, he claimed, had been out of action in numerous security challenges in the country particularly “needless killings in Benue, Plateau, Zamfara etc and whose regime has recorded unprecedented bloodletting in the country would suddenly wake up threatening voters with fire and brimstone.”
He added, “In all democracies the world over, elections are civil matters that are usually handled by civil security like police and wondered why the involvement of our military in this matter when they have enough security challenges to tackle.”
Also, the Coalition of United Political Parties has asked Nigerians and the international community to hold the President responsible for any loss of lives during the elections.