President Muhammadu Buhari has warned potential troublemakers to stay away from ballot boxes on February 23.
At an emergency caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja on Monday morning, the president warned that anyone who foments trouble, especially by carrying ballot boxes, would be doing so at the “expense of his life.”
”Anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb the election, maybe that would be the last unlawful action you would take. I have given the military and police the order to be ruthless.
”I am going to warn anybody who thinks he would lead a body of thugs in his locality to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system; he would do it at the expense of his/her own life,” the president said.
Mr Buhari made the statement after reprimanding the Independent National Electoral Commission for postponing the general elections from February 16 to 23.
The president repeated that he gave INEC all necessary support to ensure a smooth exercise, but the electoral body still displayed “incompetence” and failed to let Nigerians go to the poll as originally scheduled.
Electoral chiefs cited widespread logistics mishaps for the “painful” postponement, and promised everything would be in order before the new date of February 23 for presidential and federal parliamentary elections. Statewide elections would now hold on March 9, from the initial March 2.
Mr Buhari also threatened consequences against INEC chairman Mahmood Yakubu, agreeing with the submission of party chairman Adams Oshiomhole that the electoral chief had compromised and was in purported collusion with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
The national caucus meeting, which was initially televised for about 30 minutes, was cut off live broadcast after the president’s remarks.
Journalists were also asked to leave the venue to allow for a closed-door session.