The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Tuesday threatened that Nigerian forces will kill foreign soldiers who intervene in the country’s election matters.
His comments came over a week after the Nigerian government accused foreign powers including the United States, United Kingdom and the European Union of actions that could be deemed as interference, and warned of consequences.
The three entities had criticised the suspension of Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, warning that the decision by President Muhammadu Buhari could affect the credibility of general elections weeks away.
The February 16 presidential election is expected to be hotly contested, and there are fears of violence and election fraud, with the opposition repeatedly accusing the ruling party of plotting to rig the polls.
Buhari has repeatedly committed to a free and fair poll and warned against any attempt by other nations to meddle in the country’s internal affairs.
Last week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had observed overt bias by Western countries towards the opposition People Democratic Party, a practice it said contradicted international norms.
Mr El-Rufai, a member of the ruling APC and staunch backer of the president, ratcheted up criticisms of anyone who demands foreign intervention in Nigeria’s elections. He featured on NTA’s Tuesday Live programme anchored by veteran broadcaster, Cyril Stober.
“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,” the governor said.
Mr El-Rufai warned that individual countries had no right to violate Nigeria’s sovereignty.
He added that while Nigeria had intervened militarily in Sierra Leone and Liberia in the 1990s, it was done based on the resolution of the international community and as a gesture of “neighbourliness”.
Mr El-Rufai said Nigeria is an independent entity whose sovereignty would never be compromised in servitude to foreign powers.