Patrizia Agangi, the EU observer team to the FCT, said that El-Rufai’s statement was not directed at EU observers.
The EU observer team said its mandate to observe the whole electoral process is not affected by El-Ruafai’s statement The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria 2019 has said that the threat by the Kaduna state governor, Nasir El-Rufai, that foreign nationals who interfere in the forthcoming general elections would be given “body bags treatment was not directed at EU observers.”
Patrizia Agangi, said the statement made by El Rufia does not affect the mandate of the observation mission as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) invited them. Agangi explained that the mandate of the EU EOM is to observe the whole electoral process from pre to post-elections. She said: “Our work goes on the same despite the threat by the Kaduna State governor. Our mandate is not affected by the statement because we are invited by INEC.”
Bayo Olupohunda Agangi who is a long term observer, said the group was visiting the newspaper to gauge the feeling and perception of journalists who work in the company about the political environment. Earlier, acting Abuja Bureau Chief, Igho Akeregha, informed the delegation that the newspaper maintains its position as the flagship of the Nigerian press with no sectional, ethnic or religious bias.
He noted that there were concerns in the media about the language of political campaigns as it affects the safety of journalists who would be covering the election, including government growing concern about fake news and what constitutes fake news and facts. Akeregha informed the delegation that government’s failure to sign the new electoral law was a setback for democratic consolidation, even as the manual transmission and collation of results may be open to manipulation.
He urged the EU to be more firm and make it clear to the two leading presidential candidates that they run the risk of severe international sanctions and possible arraignment at the International Criminal Court (ICC), if they fail to accept the outcome of the polls adjudged to be free and fair.