The National Peace Committee on Thursday called for calm as 28 States go to the polls to elect their governors and legislators.
The organisation also expressed worry over what it described as “Open threats of intimidation and violence by certain elements within the society.”
Chairman of the NPC and former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), in a statement issued in Abuja, said the call was necessitated by the open threats of intimidation and violence by certain elements within the society who were using ethnic and religious labels to achieve their intentions of voter suppression.
According to him, the organisation had been following up with the same appeal that it made ahead of the presidential elections on February 25 2023.
Abdulsalam added that the NPC understood and appreciated that these were trying times for the country and its citizens.
He said, “The Presidential elections have come and gone. However, problems have arisen from the process of the collation, transmission and release of the final results. This has generated the crisis that we now find ourselves. Notwithstanding all this, we are pleased and encouraged by the matured attitudes of the candidates who contested the presidential election.
“We are encouraged by the restraint they have exhibited and their commitment to seek justice through due process. This is in keeping with the spirit of the Peace Accord. We therefore appeal to supporters of all the parties and our citizens to please follow the good example of their leaders and remain law abiding till the process is brought to an end.
“This weekend, on March 18 2023, the second round of elections for the Governorship and State Assemblies will be conducted. We are worried by the open threats of intimidation and violence by certain elements within the society who are using ethnic and religious labels to achieve their intentions of voter suppression.
“We appeal to the security and law enforcement agencies to remain alert and to bring to book, anyone, no matter their position in society, who poses a threat to the peaceful conduct of the elections. We encourage all citizens not to be intimidated and to go out and exercise their God given rights.”
On behalf of the National Peace Committee, Abubakar expressed gratitude to peace-loving Nigerians, including the security agencies.
He prayed that the Independent National Electoral Commission would do everything possible to ensure that the elections would be peaceful so as to gain the confidence of citizens.