- Governor El-Rufai has reacted to his controversial statement threatening foreign intervention in the February election
- The governor had earlier threatened that foreign countries trying to intervene in the coming election would be sent back in ''body bags''
- Following the controversy trailing the comment, the governor said he was trying to protect the sovereignty of Nigeria
Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state has reacted to his controversial ''body bags' statement alleging foreign intervention in the February general elections across the country.
Speaking in an interview at Channels TV, the Kaduna governor slammed the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, alleging that it has resulted into misleading strategies having been aware of its imminent defeat.
Recall that the governor, with some days to the general election, had raised alarm over what he termed an attempt by PDP and foreign countries to interfere in the coming election.
He had threatened that: "Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags.”
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His comment had sparked off controversy with the presidency and his party, All Progressives Congress, forced to clarify the statement.
In a subsequent reaction, the governor, on Thursday, February 7, said his comment was as a result of intelligence report that PDP was trying to instigate international countries against Nigeria, and give the country a "Venezuela treatment."
According to him, what he said was based on intelligence that is available to the party that the opposition is preparing grounds to cause a crisis in Nigeria by inviting foreign participation.
"They are discussing it. They call it the Venezuelan option. They know that they are likely to lose the elections. They are putting out information that they have. They have issued a poll showing that they would win.
"They are procuring the sympathy of the international community to issue statements like the three coordinated statements on the suspension of the chief justice and linking that to the elections as if the government or the ruling party has anything to hide regarding elections."
He said the party was doing all this to prepare grounds to protest and cause crises in Nigeria and advance their "Venezuelan option".
"You all know what is happening in Venezuela. And we are not going to sit and allow unpatriotic Nigerians to confuse and procure the misguided support of countries that are supposed to be our friends without sounding a note of warning to them," the governor added.
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He, however, welcomed the foreign observers, saying the country wants them to be part of the process and will protect them.
The governor warned them against interference in the political affairs of Nigeria because it is a sovereign country. He said they here to observe and not to intervene or to provide the foundation for crises in Nigeria which according to him is what the PDP is preparing for.
“It is their ultimate last option and we are aware of it. This is the essence of my statement and I don’t want anyone to confuse my statement to mean that Nigerians will kill any foreigner they see," he added.
Legit.ng had earlier reported that the presidency had said that Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s statement threatening foreigners plotting to intervene in Nigeria’s election, which had stirred controversy, was only in defence of the country’s national interest.
The special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, clarified that the Kaduna governor was only speaking about the country’s sovereignty.
He insisted that the government was ready for a free and fair election.
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