The European Union Election Observation Mission has said its election observers are impartial, did not interfere in the electoral process and operated according to a strict code of conduct.
The Mission stated that it was invited to monitor the 2019 elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, adding that this was the sixth time it was observing elections in the country.
The EU EOM said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by its Press and Public Outreach Officer, Sarah Fradgley, in response to the threat by Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai against foreign election monitors in the country.
The Governor had threatened that foreigners including election monitors who intervene in Nigerian affairs “will go back in body bags.”
Speaking on an NTA live interview programme on Tuesday, Rufai said, “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags.”
But the EU said while the security of its observers was of paramount importance, and would remain under constant review, “EU observers will continue their work across the country in the run-up to and beyond February 16 elections.”
It stated, “We are aware of the comments by the Governor of Kaduna about non-interference by foreigners during a talk show on the elections Tuesday 5 February.
“EU election observation missions give commentary and analysis, and make recommendations about the electoral process. EU election observation missions are impartial, do not interfere in the electoral process, and operate according to a strict code of conduct.
“While the security of EU observers is of paramount importance, and will remain under constant review, EU observers will continue their work across the country in the run-up to – and beyond – the 16 February elections.”
The Mission said it’s 40 long-term observers have met different categories of candidates and people across the country, including election officials, security agencies, and civil society organisations, and have enjoyed good cooperation at federal and state levels.
“The mission looks at all aspects of the election, including the campaign tone, the transparency of the election administration, the neutrality of security forces, and the independence of the judiciary, the statement added.
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