Nigeria leader’s ally says foreigners who intervene in poll face ‘body bags’

Supporters of Nigerian opposition presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar hold his portrait during a campaign rally at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna on January 24, 2019, ahead of Nigeria's general elections of February 16. / AFP / Sodiq ADELAKUN
Updated 07 February 2019
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Nigeria leader’s ally says foreigners who intervene in poll face ‘body bags’

  • The Feb. 16 vote in Africa’s top oil producer pits military ruler Buhari against main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar
  • Last year Buhari and Atiku both signed an agreement stating a commitment to hold a peaceful election

ABUJA: A key ally of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday said people from overseas who sought to intervene in the country’s election to be held in little over a week would go back in body bags.
Nasir El-Rufai, governor of the northern state of Kaduna, made the comments during a discussion program on the Nigerian Television Authority when the topic of the international community’s role in elections was raised. It followed an international outcry over the suspension of Nigeria’s top judge.
The Feb. 16 vote in Africa’s top oil producer pits Buhari, a military ruler in the 1980s who was voted into office in 2015, against main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, a businessman and former vice president in a race widely seen as tight that has become increasingly rancorous in the last few weeks.
The discussion about the role of foreign countries in elections was raised on the program in which reference was made to concerns expressed by the European Union, the United States and Britain over the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen over allegedly breaching asset-declaration rules.
“We are waiting for the person who will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country,” said El-Rufai.
“We have got that independence and we are trying to run our country as decently as possible,” he said.
Last year Buhari and Atiku both signed an agreement stating a commitment to hold a peaceful election.
Following El-Rufai’s comments, the main opposition People’s Democratic Party said it would be “left with no option than to consider a review of its signatory in the national peace accord” if the ruling party did not stop “comments, threats and incendiary actions.”
The chief justice — who was suspended and replaced with an acting replacement last month — could preside over a dispute over the election result. Nigeria’s judiciary has helped resolve electoral disputes in past votes, some of which have been marred by violence and vote rigging.
Last week the Nigerian government said it would not accept any foreign “meddling” after statements by the EU, the United States and Britain expressed fears about the impact of the judge’s suspension if the election result was disputed.
“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,” said the EU election observation mission in a tweet in which it stated that it was aware of the governor’s comments. (Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh and Felix Onuah Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Tom Brown)


At least one dead in multiple shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht

Updated 33 sec ago
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At least one dead in multiple shooting in Dutch city of Utrecht

  • Terrorism not ruled out
  • Shooter remains at large

DUBAI: At least one person is dead and multiple others injured in a shooting incident in Utrecht, The Netherlands, according to Dtuch news agency ANP.

Police are not ruling out terrorism as a possible motive in the shooting that left several people “heavily injured” - the shooter remains at large. Police have advised schools in the area to keep their doors closed.

Police have erected a white tent over an area where a body appears to be lying next to a tram following reports of a shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht, AP reported.

“At 10:45 a.m. local time, multiple shots fired inside a tram near 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht,” police told Arab News, adding that “there were multiple shots causing multiple, heavy injuries.”

The Utrecht local government has set up a hotline to address queries about the situation.

 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the government is currently holding crisis talks.

The head of the Dutch national counter-terrorism service, Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg, said on Twitter that he was having “crisis consultations”, adding: “Terrorist motive not excluded. Information not yet full.”

 

Local media reports have said counter-terrorism police were seen at the scene.

“Shooting incident... Several injured people reported. Assistance started,” the Utrecht police Twitter account said. “It is a shooting incident in a tram. Several trauma helicopters have been deployed to provide help.”

The 24 Oktoberplein is a busy Utrecht traffic junction, with a tram stop. Tram traffic was temporarily stopped due to the incident, but the trams are currently running again between Zuilenstein, Nieuwegein and IJsselstein.

(With AFP and Reuters)