Meddle in our election and die, Buhari ally warns foreigners

A key ally of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has warned foreigners who attempt to intervene in the country’s election to be held in a week would go back in body bags.

The governor of the northern state of Kaduna, Nasir El-Rufai made the threats during a discussion programme on the Nigerian Television Authority amid growing concerns on international community’s role in the upcoming elections.

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It followed an international outcry over the suspension of Nigeria’s top judge.

The February 16 election in Africa’s top oil producer pits Buhari, a military ruler in the 1980s against main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president.

Mr Buhari was voted into office in 2015.

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This race is widely seen as tight that has become increasingly acrimonious in the last few weeks.

The discussion about the role of foreign nations in elections was raised on the programme in which reference was made to concerns expressed by the European Union, the United States and Britain over the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen over allegedly breaching asset-declaration rules.

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“We are waiting for the person who will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country,” said El-Rufai.

“We have got that independence and we are trying to run our country as decently as possible,” he said.

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Last year Buhari and Abubakar both signed an agreement affirming their commitment to hold a peaceful election.

Following El-Rufai’s comments, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party said it would be “left with no option than to consider a review of its signatory in the national peace accord” if the ruling party did not stop “comments, threats and incendiary actions”.

President Muhammadu Buhari

Last week, the Nigerian government maintained it would not accept any foreign “meddling” after statements by the EU, the United States and Britain expressed fears about the impact of the judge’s suspension if the election result was disputed.

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