The Federal Government has asked the United States of America, United Kingdom and European Union not to meddle in the country’s affairs in the countdown to the general elections.
The US, UK and EU had in different statements on Saturday took exception to President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onnoghen, without recourse to due process and the constitution.
In apparent response to the criticism, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said in a statement on Saturday night that the Federal Government will not allow foreign interference in the country’s election.
The statement, titled: “”DETERMINED TO ENSURE FREE, FAIR ELECTIONS. THIS GOVERNMENT WILL NOT BEND THE RULES, AND WILL NOT ALLOW MEDDLING IN OUR AFFAIRS,” reads in full:
The Federal Government welcomes the prevailing keen interest and partnerships for successful elections in, and a peaceful Nigeria.
However, we reject any interference or perception management that promotes apprehension, citizens distrust or undermines the transparency and acceptability of the outcomes of our electoral process.
Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all.
Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections.
In addition, the Federal government has ensured the independence of all organs, institutions and arms of government to perform their functions in a manner that is transparent and is not lacking in integrity whether institutionally or by persons within such institutions or organs and will continue to do this.
Although the question of foreign interference, whether state sponsored, promoted or otherwise has dominated recent elections and outcomes globally, the federal government assures citizens and the global community that it will fiercely and assiduously promote the will and the right of Nigerians to choose and elect their leaders without pressure or assistance from persons or entities that are not constitutionally empowered to participate in the process.
Citizens are encouraged to confidently exercise their franchise in an orderly manner with the assurance of the federal government to their security during and after the electoral process as well as the readiness of the security forces to confront any plan or attempt to interfere with or disrupt the process whether by elements within or from outside the country.