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2019: EU replies El-Rufai over death threats to foreign election observers

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The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) on Wednesday replied Governor Nasir El-Rufai and said its observers were invited for the February poll by the Federal Government.

It said its observers are always impartial and do not interfere in the electoral process.

It also clarified that its observers will continue their work across the country in the run-up to – and beyond – the 16 February elections.

The EU EOM, which made its position known in a statement in Abuja, said the “security of EU observers is of paramount importance and will remain under constant review.”

The statement said: “We are aware of the comments by the Governor of Kaduna about non-interference by foreigners during a talk show on the elections Tuesday 5 February.

The EU only deploys an election observation mission when it is invited to do so by the authorities of a country. The EU has been invited to observe all of the general elections in Nigeria since 1999. Thus this is the sixth time the EU is observing elections in Nigeria.

The Independent National Electoral Commission invited the EU to deploy an observation mission for the 2019 general elections.

EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis and make recommendations about the electoral process. EU election observation missions are impartial, do not interfere in the electoral process, and operate according to a strict code of conduct.”

Notwithstanding, the EU said its observers will continue to do their work while their security remains under constant review.

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.

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The statement added: “For the last month the mission’s team in Abuja, as well as 40 long-term observers across the country, have followed the elections.

We have met with a wide range of candidates, parties, election officials, security agencies, and civil society organizations, and have enjoyed good cooperation at federal and state levels.

The mission looks at all aspects of the election, including the campaign tone, the transparency of the election administration, the neutrality of security forces, and the independence of the judiciary.

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