Published On: Thu, Feb 7th, 2019

“Body Bag” Comments: Presidency Defends El-Rufai, Says Governor Spoke In National Interest

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Presidential spokesman

By Sadiq Umar – The Presidency has defended controversial Governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai who came under heavy criticism over his “body bag” comment on an NTA programme, saying the governor spoke in the national interest.

Mr. El-Rufai had threatened on a national television programme that foreigners planning to intervene in the forth-coming general elections will leave in “body bags”.

The comment drew wide reactions and condemnations, including the reaction of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) who said in a statement that its observers were invited into the country by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to monitor elections and would not be deterred in carrying out their duties.

EU EOM reinstated its commitment to free and fair in Nigeria, assuring of its neutrality as an independent international observer.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had also threatened to pull out of the peace accord entered into with the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the aftermath of the comments.

Reacting on the issue Wednesday, Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu said the presidency has taken note of Mr. El-Rufai’s latest statement and that the governor spoke in national interest, adding his latest clarifications on the issue should lay the matter to rest.

“We have taken note of the clarification to a reported earlier statement by the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufa’i, concerning opposition call for foreign interference in our domestic affairs and to say that latest statements by him should rest the issue for good,” he said in a statement.

According to him, “there is nothing more to sneeze at. The governor spoke strongly in defence of national interest. It is clear that El-Rufa’i, our party the All Progressives Congress, and all its candidates have reposed their faith in democracy through general elections.

“They are all of the view that there is no place for violence against local people or foreign citizens in our midst.”

“The Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari will cooperate with election observers and will not let the international community down in the conduct of the coming elections.

“The Presidency assures Nigerians and the international community that the President will do everything within his power to ensure free, fair and credible elections in the country.”

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