Body bag threat: Probe El-Rufai, TMG tells security agencies, NHRC

The Transition Monitoring Group on Friday called on security agencies and the National Human Rights Commission to investigate and document inciting comments allegedly made by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai.

The TMG, in a statement by its chairperson, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, spoke in reaction to a recent statement allegedly made by el-Rufai to the effect that international observers who would interfere in Nigeria’s elections had death awaiting them as such people would be returned in body bags.

Akiyode-Afolabi said, “For the umpteenth time therefore, TMG finds it imperative to caution all political actors to be mindful of their utterances, especially at this delicate point in the electoral process. This call becomes critical because in a volatile political environment such as we have in Nigeria, overzealous party faithful and political supporters could take these threats as the green light from their principals to unleash violence on perceived opponents, or any other perceived as not belonging to the camp of the perpetrators.

“Importantly, the extant electoral laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria frown against all forms of incitement. Specifically, Section 128 of the Electoral Act, 2010 provides a fine of N500, 000 or a prison term of 12 months, or both for anyone inciting others to act in a disorderly manner.

“Beyond moral suasion therefore, TMG calls on the relevant government agencies including the security agencies, the National Human Rights Commission to investigate and document these kinds of comments, which constitute infractions on the electoral laws. This we believe should be done with a view to holding to account those who incite violence of any kind all through the electoral process.”