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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Responsibility for delay of Presidential election lays with President Buhari, US congressman says

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   • Calls on Trump administration, State dept. to focus attention on Nigeria

 

 

US congressman and immediate past chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Christopher Smith, has revealed that “Responsibility for the delay of Nigeria’s presidential election lays squarely with President Muhammadu Buhari and those close to him.

Smith, issued the following statement with regard to the postponement of elections by one week, and reports of violence linked to the delayed elections.

According to him: “Actions in advance of the election including removal of Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, and arson attacks on Independent National Electoral Commission offices in opposition strongholds, are undermining confidence that this election and subsequent gubernatorial elections will be free and fair.

“At a minimum, the presidential election must meet the 2015 standard, which saw a peaceful transfer of power and a statement by the then-sitting president that all bloodshed must be avoided.”

Rep. Smith also called upon the Trump Administration and the State Department to focus greater attention upon Nigeria, saying “In addition to being sub-Saharan Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is its biggest economy, and what happens in Nigeria has ramifications beyond its borders.

“Given the magnitude of global problems Secretary Pompeo must contend with, he should consider appointing a Special Envoy for Nigeria vested with full authority. The State Department must use all tools at its disposal, including visa denial and sanctioning authority, to hold accountable those who undermine democracy and foment sectarian and ethnic violence.”

Commenting further on the role of the State Department, Rep. Smith asked Secretary Pompeo to conduct an internal investigation into why a handful of State Department officials had apparently pushed for a statement last month “welcoming” the results of a fraudulent election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), defying a reported interagency consensus that had sought accountability and transparency.

 

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