2019: Punish any Nigerian official who manipulates elections, US Congressman tells Trump

2019: Punish any Nigerian official who manipulates elections, US Congressman tells Trump

- US congressman, Christopher Smith, has advised President Donald Trump on steps to take concerning the 2019 general elections in Nigeria

- Smith urged Trump to use his sanctioning authority to hold accountable any Nigerian official who subverts the 2019 electoral process

- Smith is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa

American congressman, Christopher Smith, has urged President Donald Trump to use his sanctioning authority to hold accountable any Nigerian official who subverts the 2019 electoral process or foment violence against citizens.

Smith who is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, gave the advise in a statement published on his personal website on Saturday, December 21.

The lawmaker also lamented over the herdsmen attacks in the north-central, the harassment of opposition members and the crackdown on protesters in Nigeria.

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He wrote: “I am very concerned by the current trajectory in Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy and economy, and President Muhammadu Buhari’s apparent crackdown on non-violent protests and harassment of opposition leaders, such as freezing the assets of opposition vice presidential candidate Peter Obi and the raiding of the home of two sons of opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar.

“I call upon the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that elections will be free and fair, and for the commission to remain impartial.

“I further call upon President Buhari to use his authority to end the violence perpetrated by Fulani extremists, particularly in the Middle Belt region, and question why he has failed to do so.

“I also urge the Trump administration to monitor the evolving situation closely, and not to hesitate to use its sanctioning authority to hold accountable any officials who subvert the electoral process or foment violence against citizens.”

It may be recalled that Smith chaired a hearing on Nigeria entitled “Nigeria at a Crossroads: The Upcoming Election” on Tuesday, December 18.

Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said that it will not endorse any particular presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections.

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The acting chairman of the forum, Musa Kwande, stated this on Thursday, December 20, when he received the presidential candidate of the Peoples Trust Party (PT), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, at the ACF national headquarters in Kaduna state.

He insisted that the forum would not align itself with any political party or candidate ahead of the polls, saying it would be totally unfair to endorse any candidate or support any political party since the majority of the contestants were from the north and also sons of the region.

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