By Musa Adamu
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to retract his shoot on sight on order made against ballot box snatchers.
The Civil Society group in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said it was shocked and worried at the order by the President.
It described it as “undemocratic and ill-thought response which has the potential of emboldening trigger-happy security agents to take the law into their hands.”
It further expressed surprised at such statement, saying it could be a ‘potential execution order’ from the President, “not minding the present uncertainty that dominates the tension-soaked political atmosphere in the country.
“We are concerned that the order, if not retracted, has the potential of breeding extra judicial killings, civil disobedience or disrupt law and order and gross killing of innocent Nigerians who would be taking part in the rescheduled February 23rd, 2019 polls.”
It also said “While we work to uphold democracy and good governance in the country, we are at liberty to remind the President that the primary purpose of government is to promote, protect and secure human rights and fundamental freedom as contained in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
“We must reiterate the importance of Right to Life as a fundamental part of human rights. Citizens must be alive to pursue its justiciability.
“We are not unaware that Section 128 of the Electoral Act states that “any person who at an election acts or incites others to act in a disorderly manner commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both” and specifically states that anyone who destroys, or snatches election material is liable to imprisonment for 24 months. Nowhere is capital punishment prescribed as a penalty for any electoral offence in Nigeria.
“With the elections having been postponed by a week, to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to sort out logistics and other issues it claimed made them not go ahead with the elections as scheduled for February 16, 2019, we expect nothing but statesman-like attitude from the President, with sincere commitment to ensure the process is free, fair, credible and non-violent. The statement was indeed un-presidential and not good for the evolution of our peaceful democratic process.”