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El-Rufai’s death threat to foreigners was in national interest, says presidency


PHOTO: Twitter/Tolani Alli

The office of Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has said the death threat issued to members of the international community by Kaduna State governor Nasir El-Rufai was in the interest of the country.

El-Rufai had threatened that foreigners that look to intervene in Nigeria’s forthcoming election will leave in “body bags” while speaking on National Television Authority’s Tuesday Live.

“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 Kaduna state governor said.

However, in defense of El-Rufai’s comments that has sparked reactions from the European Union (EU) and the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the office of the president said the Kaduna State governor spoke in defence of national security.

“There is nothing more to sneeze at. The Governor spoke strongly in defense of national interest. It is clear that El-Rufa’i, our party the APC and all its candidates have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections,” presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement.

El-Rufai, also tried to clarify his statement, noting that his comment did not contain any call for violence but for a powerful defence of sovereignty.

PDP in its reaction called on the international community to place El-Rufai on a travel-ban, while the EU election monitoring body noted their observers will continue their work across the country in the run-up to – and beyond – the 16 February elections.

Shehu assured Nigerians and the international community that the President was committed to ensuring free, fair and credible elections.

“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,” Shehu said.

He, however, said the calls made by the PDP to members of the international community were deliberate acts of not taking responsibilities for the 16 years it ruled the country.

“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,” Shehu said.

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