Elections: UK, US, Others Urge Security Personnel To Remain Visibly Neutral

Diplomatic missions of the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, Canada and Norway have urged the law enforcement authorities in Nigeria to remain visibly neutral during the upcoming General Elections.

This was contained in a joint-statement from the Missions for the General Elections in Nigeria scheduled to hold on 25 February, 2023.

“We call on all officials, including the law enforcement authorities, to ensure a safe and conducive environment for the exercise of public freedoms – including the freedom of opinion and expression, the freedom of peaceful assembly and the freedom of association – all of which are essential in democratic societies, in particular in the context of elections.

“Law enforcement authorities should remain visibly neutral and respond in a proportionate manner to any election- related incidents”, they said.

The Missions, however, welcome the signing of the second Peace Accord by the candidate parties competing in the upcoming Presidential Election and fully commit to supporting all efforts that would ensure the Nigerian people decide who wins the election.

They believe it was vital for Nigeria’s stability and democratic consolidation that the process was conducted and concluded safely, fairly and credibly.

“We encourage all actors to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and avoid any violence in the periods before, during and after the
elections.

“We call on all officials at federal and local levels in Nigeria to respect the human and democratic rights of its citizens. We strongly condemn any actions that undermine the peaceful and transparent conduct of the electoral process.

“We call on parties to respect electoral laws and institutions and take a firm stand against violence and hate speech by their supporters. We ask the security services in Nigeria to do their utmost to protect that process and prevent and deter attacks against INEC facilities, materials and personnel.

“We further urge all presidential candidates and political parties to live up to their commitments under the second Peace Accord to accept the results of the election as announced by INEC and to pursue any challenge of the results through the appropriate legal channels.

“Finally, we the Diplomatic Missions of the United States, Australia, Japan, Norway, Canada and the United Kingdom in Nigeria would like to congratulate Nigeria on its 24 years of democratic progress since 1999, during which it has been a symbol to others of the value of exercising democratic rights for the betterment of society. We hope that this year’s elections further build Nigeria’s democratic tradition”, the Missions said.

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