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Abide by peace accord, accept results announced by INEC, foreign missions tell candidates

Abide by peace accord, accept results announced by INEC, foreign missions tell candidates
February 23
13:05 2023

Diplomatic missions in Nigeria have called on political parties to take a stand against violence and hate speech by their supporters as the citizens go to the polls on Saturday.

The missions, including the United States, Australia, Japan, Norway, Canada, and the United Kingdom in a statement on Thursday, commended the signing of the second peace accord by the presidential candidates.

They appealed to all candidates and political parties to live up to their commitments under the peace accord to accept the results of the elections as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“We believe it is vital for Nigeria’s stability and democratic consolidation that the process is conducted and concluded safely, fairly, and credibly. We encourage all actors to intervene proactively to calm any tensions and avoid any violence in the periods before, during, and after the elections,” the statement reads.

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“We call on all officials at federal and local levels in Nigeria to respect the human and democratic rights of its citizens. We strongly condemn any actions that undermine the peaceful and transparent conduct of the electoral process.

“We call on parties to respect electoral laws and institutions and take a firm stand against violence and hate speech by their supporters. We ask the security services in Nigeria to do their utmost to protect that process and prevent and deter attacks against INEC facilities, materials, and personnel.

“We call on all officials, including the law enforcement authorities, to ensure a safe and conducive environment for the exercise of public freedoms – including the freedom of opinion and expression, the freedom of peaceful assembly, and the freedom of association – all of which are essential in democratic societies, in particular in the context of elections. Law enforcement authorities should remain visibly neutral and respond in a proportionate manner to any election-related incidents.

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“Finally, we the Diplomatic Missions of the United States, Australia, Japan, Norway, Canada, and the United Kingdom in Nigeria would like to congratulate Nigeria on its 24 years of democratic progress since 1999, during which it has been a symbol to others of the value of exercising democratic rights for the betterment of society. We hope that this year’s elections further build Nigeria’s democratic tradition.”

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