The European Union (EU) Parliament Observation delegation to Nigeria has advocated punishment to be melted out to election offenders, insisting that
perpetrators of violent acts during the election must be brought to justice.
Ms. Evin Incir, Head of the EU Parliament Observation Mission to Nigeria made the call on Thursday when she led the team of the EU Parliament on a visit to Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja.
Incir, while responding to questions from journalists on her take on pockets of pre-election violence in the country a few hours after the signing of the Peace Accord by political parties and their candidates. There can never be impunity wherever violence takes place. So that is something that we continue stressing. And we hope that this will not take place more.”
On the EU Parliament’s Observation Mission, She said that the European Union is eager to support in all ways possible for Nigeria to achieve free, fair, and credible elections.
She said: “Nigeria is a close friend. partner, ally to the European Union, and this is also a commitment of many years back.
“We have been sending and will continue sending Observation mission. EU Parliament Observation Mission conduct together with the EU Commission.
“We are eager to help out in the way we can and live up to our expectations in the way we can to ensure that on behalf of the Nigerian people.
“We are happy to hear of the ambition you have of free secure elections that are taking place.
“And we look forward to our cooperation with Nigeria and the member States on a lot of issues, political, economic , environmental, climate change and mostly security.”
Onyeama thanked the EU Parliament Observer Mission for its support to Nigeria’s election, adding that Nigeria will not fail the global community in delivering peaceful and credible polls.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari wants free, fair, and transparent elections to be a legacy that he is leaving for the country.
“We have done quite a lot to have the electronic part of the process. The President really prioritizes support for the national electoral commission to ensure that the elections represent the will of the people.
“The President has invested everything in maintaining democracy not just in Nigeria but in the West African Sub-region.
“And it has been a real disappointment for us as a government that there has been some backsliding on the democracy in our sub-region, about three or so countries that have gone through coup de tat.
“So we appreciate that Africa, West Africa, in particular, looking to Nigeria as a beacon of democracy and so we really want be strengthened.
“And we appreciate partners like the EU sending out a team to observe, and so for us, we are going to do everything to make your tax a success.
“This is one of the largest team of election observers in the world, so we have no reason not to have credible elections.
“Of course, security is also very important, we had a meeting yesterday, the President Chaired of the Security Council and all the Chiefs of Staff were there and all the precautions and measures have been taken with all the precautions have been taken.
“To ensure elections are taken in a peaceful and secured environment. That is one aspect we are concerned about, but hopefully, we will be able to deliver on the security aspect of it,” Onyeama said.
Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria, Ms Samuela Issopi, while also responding to journalists, said that the EU strongly condemns all forms of violence, be it during elections or not.
She said that the EU is proud of the commitment made by the candidates and the political parties, and she also urged that they remain committed to the peace picture that they signed.
She said: “We stand by all the Nigerians. Thirty-six hours to the voting, we are impressed by the commitments taken by the political parties and candidate and by President Buhari to leave peaceful and credible and inclusive elections as his legacies.
“It was a very important moment, and this is the image we want to keep in our mind, the Nigeria that stands together for democracy for a better future.
“All forms of violence need to be condemned either during election times or whenever.
“This is the only thing we have to say, and we hope justice follows its course. that and the perpetuators will be brought to justice.”