President Buhari on Monday, February 18, 2019, asserted that he has instructed security agencies to shoot and kill ballot-snatchers or those who lead thugs at polling stations!
While I do not support ballot snatching, I find no legal basis for the directive of Mr President.
Thomas-Wilson Ikubese said that perhaps the closest provision to Mr President’s directive is section 33(2)(a-c) of the constitution of Nigeria, which allows the use of reasonable force when effecting arrest, which could lead to the killing of the person to prevent his escape.
However, ballot snatching is an electoral offence for which the Electoral Act makes adequate provision.
Section 94(2) of the Electoral Act states that: ‘A person who, while present at a political rally, procession or voting centre, has with him any offensive weapon or missile otherwise in pursuance of a lawful duty commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N2,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of a two years or both.’”
I’m therefore awed at President Buhari’s directive, which is alien to our Electoral Act!
If INEC had not postponed the Presidential election at the wee hours of the election, by now a winner would probably have been announced. One therefore wonders why President Buhari did not give this directive before the earlier date of February 16, 2019.
Knowing that we have many trigger-happy security agents amidst our forces, not a few innocent citizens would now become weary of coming out to vote on Saturday, causing voters aparthy, more so when INEC has barred political parties from further campaigning before Saturday.
It would have been good enough if Mr President said ballot-snatchers would be dealt with, rather than saying that they will pay with their lives, when Nigerians are yet to recover from the body-bag threat of Governor El-Rufai!
I appeal to President Buhari to re-address the issue and re-frame his words lest, his “good” intention be misunderstood.
Thomas-Wilson Ikubese is the Convener, YesWeFit Revolutionary Movement.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.