The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre has said the order of President Muhammadu Buhari to security agencies on ballot snatching has the potential of emboldening trigger- happy security agents to take the law into their own hands .
CISLAC Executive Director , Auwal Ibrahim Musa , who expressed concerns about what he described as ‘ potential execution order’ from the President , urged him to retract it in the interest of sanctity of human lives and democratic growth .
Buhari had, at the caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress in Abuja on Monday , said security agencies had been given the go – ahead to “ deal ruthlessly ” with ballot snatchers .
The President warned that anyone who engages in ballot box snatching during the rescheduled elections does so “ at his own personal expense . ”
Musa said in a statement made available to journalists in Ado Ekiti on Tuesday that, “ It is imperative for the President to immediately retract , withdraw and apologise to Nigerians for such statement .
“ 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 .
“ 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 N 500 , 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 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 .
“ CISLAC , therefore , calls on security agencies to respect the rule of law and not take laws into their hands as they will take responsibility for any action.
“ Every known law in our democratic norms does not permit the armed forces anywhere near the parameters of the polling units/ points.
“ In fact , armed bearing police officers are not allowed anywhere close to the poll, ” he stated .