Nigeria’s opposition urges military to stay away from vote

Nigeria’s top opposition candidate urged the military not to be involved in the upcoming presidential election, saying the army “has no role to play in the conduct” of the poll.

Speaking on national television on Tuesday, Atiku Abubakar criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier remarks in which he ordered Nigeria’s security forces to be “ruthless” with those found interfering with the voting process. Buhari warned that anyone who tries to disturb the vote “will do so at the expense of his own life”.

Charging that the president’s remarks were “a painful reminder of the era of dictatorship and military rule,” Abubakar on Tuesday also urged the electoral commission “to remain impartial arbiters” of the vote.

“Voting is a civil activity,” Abubakar said. “Nigeria’s military is constitutionally responsible for protecting our territorial integrity and national borders and has no role to play in the conduct of elections.”

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