We don’t interfere in electoral process – EU replies El-Rufai

The European Union Election Observation Mission has said its election observers are impartial , did not interfere in the electoral process and operated according to a strict code of conduct .
The Mission stated that it was invited to monitor the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission , adding that this was the sixth time it was observing elections in the country.

The EU EOM said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by its Press and Public Outreach Officer, Sarah Fradgley , in response to the threat by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El – Rufai against foreign election monitors in the country.

The Governor had threatened that foreigners including election monitors who intervene in Nigerian affairs “ will go back in body bags . ”

Speaking on an NTA live interview programme on Tuesday , Rufai said , “ 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 . ”

But the EU said while the security of its observers was of paramount importance, and would remain under constant review , “ EU observers will continue their work across the country in the run- up to and beyond February 16 elections . ”

It stated, “ We are aware of the comments by the Governor of Kaduna about non -interference by foreigners during a talk show on the elections Tuesday 5 February .

“ EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis , and make recommendations about the electoral process . EU election observation missions are impartial , do not interfere in the electoral process , and operate according to a strict code of conduct .

“ While the security of EU observers is of paramount importance, and will remain under constant review , EU observers will continue their work across the country in the run – up to – and beyond – the 16 February elections . ”

The Mission said it ’ s 40 long – term observers have met different categories of candidates and people across the country, including election officials , security agencies, and civil society organisations , and have enjoyed good cooperation at federal and state levels .

“ The mission looks at all aspects of the election , including the campaign tone , the transparency of the election administration , the neutrality of security forces , and the independence of the judiciary , the statement added .

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