In a bid to ensure successful conduct of the general elections on Saturday, the Diplomatic Missions of the United States, Australia, Japan, Norway, Canada and the United Kingdom in Nigeria, have called on security agencies to maintain a safe and conducive atmosphere for the exercise of public freedom during the conduct of the presidential and National Assembly elections.
They also commended the signing of the second peace accord by the candidates of political parties vying for position on Saturday’s Presidential elections.
This was made known in a statement jointly signed by the Diplomatic Missions of the six countries who implored all the aspirants in the election to support all efforts to ensure the Nigerian people make their choice in the election.
Tribune reports that the Diplomatic missions also called on the candidadtes contesting for an elective post to maintain peace and avoid any inciting statement that can lead to violence before, during and after the elections.
They urged all officials including security agencies to make sure they create a safe and conducive environment during the elections while urging candidates in the elections to pursue any challenge of the result through the appropriate legal means.
According to the statement, “We believe it is vital for Nigeria’s stability and democratic consolidation that the process is 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 to expect 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”
They appealed to 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 call on all officials, including the law enforcement authorities, to ensure a safe and conducive environment for the exercise of public freedom- including the freedom of opinion and expression, the freedom of peaceful assembly, and the freedom of association – all of which are essential in a democratic society, in particular in the context of elections
“Law enforcement authorities should remain visibly neutral and respond in a proportionate manner to any election related incident.”
While advising the presidential candidates to observe the peace pact, the Diplomatic Missions said ” we further urge all presidential candidates and political parties to live up to their commitment under the second Peace Accord to accept the results of the election as announced by INEC and to pursue any challenge of the result 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 the society.
“We hope that this year’s elections further build Nigeria’s democratic tradition.