Senators in the 115th United States Congress have decried alleged intimidation of Nigerian opposition political parties and civil society groups under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Senators Chris Coons and Cory Booker gave their disapproval to the alleged situation where the Federal Government uses security apparatus in the country to oppress perceived opponents of the government.
Senators Coons and Booker, who are both members of the U.S Senate Foreign Relations Committee, frowned at the alleged situation in a joint statement sent to THE WHISTLER on Friday.
Their reactions come after reports of political interference and intimidation trailed the just held Osun State governorship election. where the candidate of the ruling APC, Isiaka Oyetola, was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The U.S Senators joint statement reads:
“As Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, we are troubled by reports of incidents of political interference and intimidation of voters, journalists, and civil society observers in Nigeria by some security agencies and political party supporters. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and a key U.S. partner on the continent. While domestic and international election observers have credited electoral authorities for their administration of elections thus far, we are concerned about the prospects for a free, fair and credible democratic process in Nigeria in light of recent interference by government security forces on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, as well as ongoing security threats and communal tensions in several regions of the country.
“General elections in February 2019 will be an important step for Nigeria to consolidate democratic gains achieved in the last two decades since the transition from military to civilian democratic rule. We are watching the parties’ primaries with interest, and we call on party leaders, electoral authorities, security officials, and all Nigerians to respect the political process and safeguard free, fair, credible, and peaceful elections that reflect the will of the people,” the statement said.
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