- Human right lawyer, Femi Falana, has said Governor El-Rufai's ''body bags'' threats is suggestive of desperation on the part of the ruling party
- According to the senior lawyer, the governor has to be held accountable for his utterances
- Falana also said the elections would be characterised by violence as top politicians already recruited thugs to disrupt process
A human right activist and senior advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has reacted to the ''body bags'' threats by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state.
Speaking at the secretariat of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) during a memorial event in honour of Beko Ransome-Kuti, Falana said the unfortunate statement credited to the Kaduna governor was suggestive of desperation on the side of El-Rufai and his party, The Cable reports.
Recall that Governor El-Rufai had drawn controversy to himself when he said foreign election observers who attempted to intervene in the February election, would be ''sent back in body bags.''
Defending his position after series of reactions trailed his comment, unrepentant El-Rufai was reported saying he was worried about Nigeria being given a "Venezuela option.''
Legit.ng had reported that presidency also defended the governor's threat, saying the former minister spoke in the interest of the country.
But in a reaction on Tuesday, February 20, during a event marked for the remembrance of Ransome-Kuti, an activist who died 13 years ago, that Falana described El-Rufai's statement as unfortunate, adding that the governor has to be held accountable for his utterances.
He said: “Last week, Mr. Nasir El Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state threatened that foreign election observers and monitors who interfere in the 2019 general elections would return to their countries in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run out country.
“The threat to attack and kill foreign election observers in Nigeria constitutes an infraction of the Electoral Act, 2010 and the Penal Code but because Governor El Rufai currently enjoys immunity his trial and prosecution for the offence will have to await the end of his tenure.
“The western countries that have threatened to place travel restrictions on members of the ruling class who incite violence or interfere in the electoral process should not hesitate to make an example of the governor without any further delay."
He added that the special prosecutor of the International Criminal Court should hold Governor El-Rufai responsible if foreign observers and monitors are killed during the 2019 general election
Falana said the governor has confirmed that the 2019 general election is going to be a do or die affair.
The senior lawyer also said the elections would be characterized by violence as top politicians have already recruited thugs to disrupt the election process.
Falana added: “Since leading politicians have recruited and armed thugs, the general elections will be characterised by violence in many parts of the country. Even if some of the thugs are arrested and are arraigned in the courts, the various attorneys-general would file nolle prosequi to terminate the criminal cases as the managers of the neocolonial state cannot afford to prosecute their armed agents.
“Therefore, since the children of the sponsors of violence are in expensive schools at home and abroad we urge the masses of our people not to allow their own children to be used as cannon fodders during the battle for the control of political power and economic resources of the country by the ruling class.
“It is indubitably clear that both APC and PDP are resolutely committed to the status quo which permits the manipulation of election results.
“Hence, both parties have rejected the reform of the electoral system. But it is high time democratic forces mounted sufficient pressure on the political class to implement the recommendations of the electoral reform panels.”
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng had previously reported that Governor El-Rufai 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 the opposition had resulted into misleading strategies having been aware of its imminent defeat.
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