(Onitsha Nigeria, 19th Feb 2019)-The Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organizations (a coalition of 22 human rights & democracy organizations) boldly hold that the latest death order issued by President Muhammadu Buhari and the pledge by the Nigerian Army to obey same to the letter is exactly why most Nigerians are very angry with the Administration and want to have same thrown out through the ballot. Most Nigerians are so much afraid that with the way things are going, the un-coordinated and incoherent President of Nigeria may one day sign or cede the country away to the likes of Cameroon and Chad or to a foreign power; or unilaterally declare war against United States or China or North Korea.
The incoherence of Mr. President has already risen to an apogee or intolerable proportion. The President may also one day, if not checked, declare war throughout Nigeria or section of same; ordering security forces to open fire, shoot and kill anybody or civilian on sight. The blanket compliance to such presidentially incoherent order by the Armed Forces and Police will not be surprising and shocking to Nigerians, if happened, going by the swift response of the Nigerian Army to obey Mr. President’s latest incoherent order of “shoot-at-sight, as evidentially published by the Premium Times of last evening.
Other implications of the presidential death order are to militarize and terrorize the poll (widespread implementation of the Osun State rigging template), threats and scaring away of millions of independent voters so as to have a field day to manipulate the voting process in favor of President Buhari and his party, flooding of polling booths particularly in Southeast, South-south and Igbo and Christian dominated areas of Southwest and Northern Nigeria with armed and masked soldiers, targeting, shooting and killing innocent citizens in the guise of enforcing the “shooting at sight order” of Mr. President against “ballot box snatchers” and intensification of scientific rigging such as massive thumb printing of ballot papers in hotel rooms and other hidden locations for APC and its presidential candidate.
Apart from the fact that Mr. President’s death order has no constitutional and legal basis, strictly, except in active war situation (i.e. battle-field related deaths), the maximum penalty prescribed for offenders of ballot box snatching, on judicial conviction, is two years imprisonment. No law or part of the Constitution also empowers Mr. President to take away the life of another or threat of same, except in active war situation; without completeness of judicial process. Mr. President’s death order, therefore, is a height of exective desperation, intimidation and daftness and short-sightedness on democratic principles and constitutional provisions. On the part of the Nigerian Army, we are not surprised because they have already earned notoriety around the world as heinous atrocity crimes perpetrators.
Further, we are deeply concerned that while Mr. President is busy dishing out shoot-at-sight or death order, millions of ballot papers have irretrievably gone missing in the dead of the night across the country, courtesy of agents of his ruling party and surrogated party agents and their INEC conspirators. INEC, on its part, has also refused to speak out or be open with concrete measures and assurances. All the ballot papers sent out for the botched poll of last Saturday should have been declared invalid and replaced with fresh ones from the Commission’s reserve vaults and marked with new codes or biometrics. These should have been the case in accordance with conventions and precedents.
Conversely, millions of these ballot papers have not only been reported missing but most likely thumb printed in hotel rooms and other hidden locations for the ruling party. In Anambra State, we have it on closed and good authority that ballot papers were thumb printed in different parts of the State in hidden locations including Ogbaru area of the State in the late night of last Friday few hours before the announcement of the sudden shift in the poll. The thumb printers were reportedly linked to the ruling party in the State in its desperation to rig in favor of Mr. President. The State has also reportedly received a promissory note of N10b from the Presidency given to it recently as part of federal road reconstruction refunds to the State; out of which half of the said sum is set aside to be squandered in vote buying for Mr. President and the State legislators contesting under its ruling party.
In Enugu West, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has also cried out, saying that the ballot papers for the Senatorial District have gone missing since last Friday. Reports from across the country concerning missing of millions of ballot papers are also in torrents; with INEC and its Chairman looking the other side, in addition to the Commission’s refusal to tell Nigerians the number of citizens with PVCs across the country for the 2019 polls and their State by State and geopolitical zonal breakdown. Nigerians and international observers must shine their eyes and say no to Mr. President’s latest crude and diversionary tactics.
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights & Democracy Organizations (SBCHROs)
- Emeka Umeagbalasi-08174090052
- Aloysius Attah-08035090548
- Jerry Chukwuokoro, PhD- 08035372962
- Prof Justice Chidi-Chidi-08039100804