Ballot Snatching: President Buhari Sanctions Extrajudicial Killing |RN


Muhammadu Buhari

By Ike A. Offor, Editor



It has been a week of topsy-turvy political debates following the statement by President Buhari during his party, APC Caucus meeting after the election postponement by INEC.

The president trying to send a very strong statement to would-be political thugs whose intentions would be to snatch ballot boxes during the upcoming elections, gave out a very strong words that is creating euphoria in the polity. But it appears the statement is one perhaps too strong to have come from the president himself, who primary job is to protect lives and the constitution.

The president in the very statement that has created a lot of euphoria said that he has given order to the security agents to deal ruthlessly with anyone who snatches ballot box during the election.

In his own words:

“I really gave the military and police order to be ruthless. Anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch ballot boxes or disturbs the voting system, will do so at the expense of his own life”.

A lot of nerves have clearly been bruised by the INEC action of not agreeing to staggered elections, a process the opposition considered a plan by the ruling party to rig itself back into power.

Though, this accusation of staggered election, where INEC reportedly would conduct the election in 26 states, which are mainly the considered strong states of APC, leaving states considered strongholds of the opposition.

So many, speculations have been flying around to buttress this purported plans of the ruling party, APC. But many still remain meer speculations or conspiracy theory.

So, this frustration may have given rise to statement by the president ordering the security agents to shoot at sight any ballot box snatchers, whose intention is to influence the outcome of the election in any polling booth. Though this statement did not single out any specific political party, many sees it as a pretence to tell the security forces to kill the opposition and frame them as ballot snatchers. Other said that there are electoral laws and they should be the guiding light for electoral offenses and not extrajudicial killing.

Another argument is the legality of such dictatorial or sanctioning of extrajudicial killing. And for the fact that this statement is coming from the president made many furious. Many lawyers, senior advocate of the Nigeria, SAN, and others have totally condemned the order by Buhari that has no regard for the constitution of the country.

But one of the senior advocates of Nigeria, who is also the Spokesman for the Buhari Campaign Organisation Mr Festus Keyamo, has said that Buhari is right and within the ambit of the constitution. But fell short to telling the public whether death sentence is passed by the president or by the honourable court after due process.

Mr Festus Keyamo said that “ballot box snatching is armed robbery and its penalty is death by firing squad”. This has angered many lawyers and lawmakers like Senator Dino Melaye, who was in the television studio debate “The Verdict” against Festus Keyamo.

It was a heated debate where the lawmaker accused Keyamo of supporting extrajudicial killing despite the fact that he is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

Since making this statement there have been barrages of criticisms and a lot of arguments in support of the statement from Mr President. Some are supporting Buhari while many seem to go against it but obviousy the president is not withdrawing his words, which means that those found this may end up dead.

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