Against the backdrop of criticisms from the US, United Kingdom and the European Union over the suspension of Justice Walter Onnoghen as Chief Justice of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari over assets declaration issues, the Federal Government has said it would not allow foreign interference that creates apprehension and citizens distrusts about the coming general elections.
The Federal Government, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Saturday night also noted that the government had given to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, all it needed to conduct free and credible elections.
The statement said “The Federal Government welcomes the prevailing keen interest and partnerships for successful elections in, and a peaceful Nigeria,” adding that “However, we reject any interference or perception management that promotes apprehension, citizens distrust or undermines the transparency and acceptability of the outcomes of our electoral process.
“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all.
“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections.
“In addition, the Federal government has ensured the independence of all organs, institutions and arms of government to perform their functions in a manner that is transparent and is not lacking in integrity whether institutionally or by persons within such institutions or organs and will continue to do this.
“Although the question of foreign interference, whether state sponsored ,promoted or otherwise has dominated recent elections and outcomes globally, the federal government assures citizens and the global community that it will fiercely and assiduously promote the will and the right of Nigerians to choose and elect their leaders without pressure or assistance from persons or entities that are not constitutionally empowered to participate in the process.
“Citizens are encouraged to confidently exercise their franchise in an orderly manner with the assurance of the federal government to their security during and after the electoral process as well as the readiness of the security forces to confront any plan or attempt to interfere with or disrupt the process whether by elements within or from outside the country.”
*Photo: President Buhari at the swearing-in of Acting Chief Justice Tanko Muhammed