The United States of America and a European Union delegation to Nigeria have issued a warning to the country’s security agencies to avoid actions that could destroy the success of the nation’s general elections in 2019.
In a joint statement in Abuja on Sunday, they called on security agencies to maintain high standards of professional conduct.
“We wish to draw particular attention to the fundamental role of the security agencies in providing a safe and secure environment for the Nigerian people to exercise their democratic rights. It is vital that security agencies act, and are seen to act, in an impartial manner that maintains the high standards of professional conduct,” said a joint statement issued in Abuja yesterday.
They also expressed concern at the large cases of vote buying and intimidation. The state read further; “We are gravely concerned over widespread incidents of intimidation, interference and vote buying during the recent gubernatorial elections. We were also perturbed by irregularities and violence during party primaries.” They also expressed desire for “greater participation of women, youth and people living with disabilities.”
“We reiterate the importance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as it fulfils its constitutional role. INEC must be allowed to operate free from outside pressure and intimidation, and in turn, must demonstrate full neutrality and professionalism. We encourage that adequate funding is swiftly facilitated for INEC and supporting institutions, and we hope to see the entry into force of improvements to the Electoral Act as soon as possible,” the statement added.