President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the threat by the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that foreigners who intervene in the forthcoming general elections will “go back in body bags”.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governor made the threat when he featured on NTA’s Tuesday Live programme anchored by Cyril Stober.
“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,” the governor said.
He noted that Nigeria had intervened militarily in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 1990’s upon the resolution of the international community and as a gesture of “neighbourliness”.
But, Buhari, in a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu on Wednesday night, defended El-Rufai’s statement, saying the governor spoke in the interest of Nigerians as “There is nothing more to sneeze at”.
The president further assured the international community of a free and fair, violence free election.
The statement read: “The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari would cooperate with election observers and would not let the international community down in the conduct of the coming elections.
“The Presidency assures Nigerians and the international community that the President would do everything within its power to ensure free, fair and credible elections in the country.
“We have taken note of the clarification to an earlier statement by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai concerning opposition call for foreign interference in our domestic affairs and to say that the latest statement by him should rest the issue for good.
“There is nothing more to sneeze at. The Governor spoke strongly in defense of our national interest.
“It is clear that El-Rufai, our party and all its candidates have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections.
“They are all of the view that there is no place for violence against local people or foreign citizens in our midst.
“Opposition PDP ought to own up to the mistakes of their own policies for 16 years which have led the country to a sorry pass that has cost lives, jobs and growth instead of dwelling on diversionary issues.”