The Nigerian Presidency has thrown its weight behind Nasir El-Rufai’s comments that foreigners who seek to intervene in the nation’s forthcoming elections will leave in body bags.
Mr El-Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, said the country will not accept any foreign intervention during the forthcoming general elections.
He said this while appearing on a Tuesday Live program which aired on the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
“Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person to come and intervene. They would go back in body bags because nobody would come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country,” he said.
Many interpreted his remarks to mean calling for violence against foreigners during the elections but Mr El-Rufai later said he was only insisting that Nigeria’s sovereignty be respected.
The presidency, in an email to PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday, said it is satisfied with the clarifications made by Mr El-Rufai.
In the email, sent President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, the presidency also said the federal government, under Mr Buhari, would cooperate with election observers and would not let the international community down in the coming elections.
“The Presidency assures Nigerians and the international community that the President would do everything within his power to ensure free, fair and credible elections in the country.
“We have taken note of the clarification to a reported earlier statement by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufa’i concerning opposition call for foreign interference in our domestic affairs and to say that latest statement by him should rest the issue for good,” the presidency said.
It also said the governor “spoke strongly in defence of national interest. It is clear that El-Rufa’i, our party the APC and all its candidates have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections.”
Mr Shehu said all concerned in the administration and the governing party are of the view that there is no place for violence against local people or foreign citizens in Nigeria.
He also said the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ought to own up to the mistakes of their own policies for 16 years.
He alleged that these policies have led the country to a sorry state and have cost lives, jobs, and growth.