Catholic Lawyers under the aegis of the National Association of Catholic Lawyers (NACL), have condemned the sudden postponement of the 2019 General Election by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) and the alleged “inflammatory comments made by Governor El-Rufai of Kaduna State few hours before the commencement of the Presidential and National Assembly polls
In a statement titled “Statement on the State of the Nation Released by the National Association of Catholic Lawyers” the Association regrets the untold hardship the alleged postponement has caused Nigerians and calls on both Christians, Muslims and all people of good will to pray fervently for Nigeria at this critical stage of our development as a Nation.
The Association also warned that Gov. El-Rufai will be held responsible for any breach of peace in Kaduna over his alleged unfounded reports of killings in the state.
Below is the full Statement:
- It is condemnable that an Election that was fixed more than 48 months ago was insensitively and callously cancelled in the early hours of the day on which it was to hold.
- We commend Nigerians for their resilience even in the midst of unwarranted assault by the supposed leaders of the country.
- We sympathize with all Nigerians for the great economic loss and inconveniences caused by this sudden cancellation of the Elections especially:
- The school children sent home from far and near at the risk of road mishaps and other allied dangers and at great expense to their parents and benefactors.
- The lowest on the economic ladder who rely on meagre daily income for sustenance but have lost their daily wages for the 16th of February 2019 and will lose again on the 23rd of February, 2019.
- The whooping economic implications to our country men and women that had fixed social events such as weddings and other economic activities.
- In all, the more than 140 million Nigerians especially those at the lower rung of the economic ladder are the real losers.
- We therefore call on the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC and the Government to render unreserved apologies to the people. Failure to do so depicts arrogance, insensitivity and taking Nigerians for a ride.
- In a kindred issue, it is regrettable that some Politicians are bent on setting the country aflame! How do you explain the inflammatory statements made by seemingly responsible persons in Government? How can His Excellency, Mallam El Rufai, the Governor of Kaduna State, on the eve of the Elections make statements as to the killing of 66 persons. Indeed it was inappropriate to release such statement even if it took place.
- Governor El Rufai should take notice that he will be held responsible for any breach of peace that may erupt in that area. We shall petition the International Criminal Court, ICC and other relevant United Nations Agencies for any killings that may occur in the area.
- We call on all the Actors to exhibit restraint in their utterances and body language at this critical time.
- We associate ourselves and endorse fully the various statements made by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, both as a body and as individuals and call on the people to once more come out on the 23rd of February, 2019 to exercise their franchise and vote out any government at all levels that has by its inaction or conduct in office contributed to the problems of the people.
- The lawyers are prepared to use the instrumentality of the law to challenge infractions on the polity.
- We call on Christians, Muslims and all people of good will to pray fervently for the country at this critical stage of our development as a Nation.
- The National Association of Catholic Lawyers shall observe the Elections as Citizens in our various booths and share reports of their observation with other Agencies with similar objectives.
Thanks and God bless you all!
Chukwuma Ezeala Mike Utsaha
President Publicity Secretary