The acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Harriet Thompson, has cautioned the security agencies not to interfere in Nigeria’s general elections next year, with a call on Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to ensure that the elections were free and fair.
On a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe), the envoy said it was imperative for Nigerians to be given whatever they choose during the elections.
In a chat with newsmen after the visit, held behind closed-doors, Thompson said they discussed “very important legislative business that the National Assembly should undertake even before the elections and with the start of the official campaign period at the weekend.
Her words, “We are here at the National Assembly to draw attention to the statement released yesterday (Sunday) by the international community, including the UK on the occasion of the beginning of formal campaign season.
“We drew attention to the fact that as friends of Nigeria and maintaining our resolutely, objective position, we do not support any particular candidate or political party. We are strongly in support of a process that will be free, fair and credible, and that leads to the right outcome for Nigeria”.
While calling on the security agencies to remain impartial, the envoy also said expressed concern about “intimidation, vote-buying” as observed in the recent governorship elections and the violence around party primaries.
She added, “Once again we recall the important roles of INEC and they should ensure that these elections are generally fair and will lead to the outcome that the Nigerian people chose”.
Saraki, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media Chuks Okocha, assured that legislative duties in the National Assembly would not be relegated to the background in view of the commencement of the 2019 electioneering campaigns.