Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, has defended himself against intense public criticism after he threatened that foreigners who interfere with the 2019 elections would return to their countries with “body Bags” — bags used for carrying corpses from a battlefield or the scene of an accident or crime.
Appearing on Tuesday evening during a live programme on NTA, el-Rufai had said: “Those that are calling for anyone to come and intervene in Nigeria, we are waiting for the person that would come and intervene, they would go back in body bags.
“We are waiting for the person that will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags, because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country. We got that independence and we are trying to run our country as decently as possible and we know the history of those countries that are trying to teach us these things. We have read their history.”
After coming under public scrutiny for the comments, el-Rufai has now called for the “false outrage” to stop.
Responding in a statement by Samuel Aruwan, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media and Publicity, el-Rufai said what he only did was to “stand up for Nigeria’s dignity in the wake of those who would traduce their country and reduce it to the status of a colony in their vain quest for power”.
THE FULL STATEMENT
El-Rufai: Let the False Outrage Stop
A notorious trait of the characters that constitute the opposition in Nigeria is the manufacture of outrage on flimsy grounds. However, contriving anger on false premises and summoning a din of feverish commentary will not alter the facts. Election season is regarded as silly season in some quarters, but it is a very serious moment.
When Malam Nasir El-Rufai appeared on NTA’s Tuesday Night Live, he made comments every patriot can understand. He stood up for Nigeria’s dignity in the wake of those who would traduce their country and reduce it to the status of a colony in their vain quest for power.
The video of his comments is in circulation. Any fair-minded person with modest familiarity with the English language and unimpaired comprehension can understand it. It does not contain any call for violence. What it is a powerful defense of sovereignty. Are some sections of our political class implying that they will acquiesce in or collaborate with foreign intervention in our country?
Affirming that a country will defend itself against needless intervention is the kind of statement you expect to hear from a patriot. It is not a call for violence. Warning about the consequences of meddling in another country’s affairs is legitimate.
Non-interference in the affairs of other countries is a basic principle of international law. Threatening to intervene in another country implies the use of force. Those who are basing their electoral calculations on foreign intervention need to be discouraged. Only the lawful votes of the Nigerian people should make or unmake governments.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai has issued a powerful call for vigilance and a clear notice that other countries should not mistake the supine posture of the opposition for national weakness.
Malam Nasir El-Rufai has stood firmly against those who have been trying to divide Nigerians on ethnic and religious lines. He is
resolutely opposed to violence, and firmly committed to peace and harmony.
Let the false outrage stop.