BY – VICTORIA OJEME
ABUJA: The Prime Minister David Cameron has written to President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that Nigerian elections go ahead this weekend, warning that failure to do so ‘would risk national security and stability, and adversely affect Nigeria’s international reputation’.
In a letter to President Jonathan, the Prime Minister underlines the importance of the elections for the African continent and points out the pivotal role for the President.
In a statement made available to Vanguard saying, “As Africa’s biggest democracy, successful elections in Nigeria are important not only for Nigeria’s future, but as a signal to the rest of Africa. Delivering a credible process will be a lasting credit to you as President and to Nigeria as a nation.
The Prime Minister emphasises the vital role of the Independent National Electoral Commission and its head Professor Jega, writing:
“I am encouraged by INEC’s advances in recent weeks. The collection of over 80 per cent of Permanent Voter Cards and the broadly successful field tests of the card readers have improved their technical preparation for the election. Your support for Professor Jega’s continuing tenure and guidance of the process remains an important part of delivering successful elections.”
He also calls for a transparent process without violence, saying ‘With hundreds of lives lost after the last election, the eyes of the international community will be focused on Nigeria.’
The Prime Minister also said he was encouraged that Nigeria, alongside its neighbours, was tackling threat posed by Boko Haram – congratulating President Jonathan on the recent advances made by Nigerian troops. And he confirmed the UK’s commitment to support Nigeria in this effort with £5 million of UK support to the Multinational Joint Task Force to tackle Boko Haram in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin area. The UK is also working towards the swift adoption of a Security Council resolution in New York to welcome the force and send an important message of international political support for the force.
Minister for Africa condemns latest Boko Haram abductions
Meanwhile Africa Minister James Duddridge has condemned the abhorrent abduction of women and children in northern Nigeria
Following reports of the further abductions from Damasak, Northern Nigeria, the Minister for Africa, James Duddridge MP said, “I am appalled at reports that up to 500 young women and children have been abducted from the town of Damask in northern Nigeria. I condemn Boko Haram’s abhorrent practice of abduction in the strongest terms and call for all those taken to be released immediately.
The UK stands with Nigeria and its people at this difficult time, and will continue to support the region in countering the threat posed by Boko Haram.”