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Rivers Re-Run: Foreign Envoys Worry Over Rising Tension
Heads of foreign delegations to Nigeria have expressed concern over what they described as the rising tension in Rivers State ahead of re-run legislative elections scheduled to hold in the State on Saturday December 10.
This was contained in a joint statement issued on Friday and made available to journalists across the country.
The Statement was signed by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright; the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Guaer and the EU Head of Delegation to Nigeria, Michel Arrion.
The foreign envoys called on the leadership of all the political parties in Rivers State and their supporters “to allow the elections to go ahead peacefully.”
“We urge all parties to respect the electoral process and raise any grievances peacefully and through official channels,” the statement read.
“We encourage INEC and the security forces to perform their duties responsibly and impartially.”
The statement stressed “that the leaders of all parties are accountable for the actions of their members and we encourage them to urge their supporters not to use or incite violence.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday also called on all parties participating in Saturday’s election to shun violence as the exercise was not a do-or-die affair.
Legislative elections in Rivers State have been postponed on two occasions due to violence and insecurity.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had said it would not organize the re-run elections unless participating political parties signed an undertaken to guarantee the safety of electoral officials and equipment.
The electoral umpire was however forced to make a U-turn after members of the Senate mandated it to organize the elections or they would suspend sitting indefinitely.
One National Youth Service Corps member who was acting as an INEC ad-hoc staff was killed in the violence that characterized legislative elections in Rivers State in 2015.