Critical reactions have trailed Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai’s recent statement that Nigerian forces would kill foreign soldiers who dared to interfere in Nigeria’s electoral process.
Mr El-Rufai made the statement on NTA’s Tuesday Live programme anchored by veteran broadcaster, Cyril Stober.
Mr El-Rufai’s threat has also sparked off reactions from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who have threatened to pull out of the peace accord, saying the threat is inimical to a peaceful, free and fair election.
A team of European Union election observers, also, reacted to the statement, saying that it would not deter it from observing the general elections set to hold on February 16 and March 2.
In his reaction, a Nigerian senator, Ben Murray-Bruce, on Twitter called on President Muhammadu Buhari to rebuke and reject the statement.
“Is this madness? President @MBuhari if you don’t reject this evil, this fellow will bring your government into disrepute! Never in Nigeria’s history have we ever had such recklessness in a public official. I urge @OfficialAPCNg to publicly repudiate this,” he said.
The senator representing Kaduna Central District and an arch rival of Governor El-Rufai, Shehu Sani, said, “The threat to kill foreigners who ‘interfere’ in Nigeria’s elections is a condemnable act.
Nigerians & the Intl community must take this seriously. The sources & plots of violence is now clear. While our mind is set on ballot boxes & votes, their’s is set on bulets, bodybags & coffins.”
A former presidential candidate and publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu also commented on Twitter saying, “I PRAY MY DEAR BROTHER NASIR EL RUFAI WILL WITHDRAW THAT UNFORTUNATE THREAT… I’M HIS FAN… Nigerian Governor, El-Rufai, Threatens murder of Foreign Officials over upcoming elections…”
In his reaction, a former presidential aide, Reno Omokri, attacked Mr El-Rufai for his ‘careless’ utterance. He commented saying “@elrufai’s exact words were “we are waiting for the person that will come and intervene, they will go back in body bags.”
Shocking as his words may be, this is vintage El-Rufai, a man who talks carelessly, especially when he is off his medications ##ElrufaisSanityIsInDoubt.”
Disturbed about the recent development, Remi Sonaiya, a former presidential candidate of the KOWA party in her comment on Twitter said, “the threat by Gov. El-Rufai that foreign powers that interfere in our elections would go back in “body bags” is troubling & sickening. Are we in a jungle here? Are we murderers? We must stop “leaders” who think they have the right to say & do anything. @elrufai Represent us well!”
Mr El-Rufai on Wednesday, however, clarified the controversial statement as being misconstrued. He said it was not a call for violence rather a patriotic statement. “Affirming that a country will defend itself against needless intervention is the kind of statement you expect to hear from a patriot. It is not a call for violence,” the governor said in the statement signed by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan.