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N’East: EU demands security to monitor elections

The European Union may send election observers to the North-East, if Nigerian government guarantees security of its officers in the zone.

The Chief Observer of the EU Election Observation Mission in Nigeria, Mr. Santiago Fisas, gave this indication during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja on Thursday.

Fisas was asked whether the EU would send election observers to the North-East since the Independent National Electoral Commission had shifted the February elections to March 28 and April 11.

He said, “I hope that peace returns to the North-East. We shall be very glad to go to there, if possible. That depends on Nigerian authorities, not on us.”

The head of the mission said the group would expect the Federal Government to guarantee the security of its observers.

The EUEOM had said a few weeks ago that it would not deploy election observers in the North-East because of the security challenges in the zone.

“Over 90 election observers have been deployed by the EU to monitor the forthcoming election in all the states but they will not cover the North-East because of the activities of insurgents in the zone. For security reasons, unfortunately, we can’t deploy into North-East region,” the chief observer had said during a meeting with the Peoples Democratic Party leadership in Abuja

But on Thursday, Fisas said that the mission would be happy to go to all parts of the country, including the North-East, if there was security.

“We will be happy to go to all parts of the country, but the first thing for us is that our people must be secured. That is very important,” he said.

He disclosed that the EU initially budgeted 4.4 million Euros for its 2015 election observation mission in Nigeria but that the union would now spend extra 1.8million Euros because of the shift in the elections by six weeks.

“We will spend extra 1.8m euro to stay because of the election shift. Our initial budget is 4.4m Euro,” he said.

He described the group as a neutral organisation, adding that it did not have preferred candidates and that the presence of the EU mission in Nigeria was on the invitation of the Federal Government.

He said the mission would not go to countries where it was not invited and he commended Nigerians for the interest they had shown in the electoral process, particularly the collection of the Permanent Voter Cards.

The EU Election Observer Mission, since its arrival in the country in November, had been monitoring party primaries and campaigns.

-Punch

Short URL: http://newnigerianpolitics.com/?p=40341

Posted by on Feb 12 2015. Filed under Africa & World Politics, Headlines, North-East. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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