ECOWAS warns Buhari, Jonathan on hate speeches

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has cautioned President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to refrain from hate speeches capable of overheating the polity.

Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the commission, Salamatu Suleiman, made the disclosure while speaking with State House correspondents shortly after the commission’s team visited President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential Villa on Monday.

”The President of ECOWAS said the observers went to all the different geopolitical zones and they made observations on issues relating to distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and other issues.

“These issues, as the President said, were deemed necessary to share with the President of the country (Jonathan), INEC and the leading opposition party, the APC.

“One of the issues is that our long term observer missions noticed that there was a lot of hate media, hate speeches being distributed, it is not good for our polity and is heating up the polity.

“And the President (Ouedraogo) has spoken to all stakeholders to look into lessening this aspect in the electoral process and I think it is an aspect the media can help greatly in addressing.

“This is a very important election for Nigeria, Nigerians are concerned, ECOWAS Community is very much concerned that it all comes out very well and that we all owe it as a duty to say very positive things that can move this nation forward,” Suleiman said.

Earlier, President, ECOWAS Commission, Kadre Desire Ouédraogo, told journalists that “ECOWAS by virtue of its mandate, is to monitor and observe all the electoral processes in our community. To that effect, we have sent a fact-finding mission to Nigeria led by John Kufuor, former President of Ghana. We have set up a long term observation that came into the country, they were deployed in the five geo-strategic zones of the country and they made their report.

“Inspite of the postponement of the elections, there was a de-briefing with them and we think it is necessary to share their observations with all the stakeholders and it is in that respect of that we came this morning to inform His Excellency about the findings and recommendations of our fact- finding mission.

“We are going to engage with all the stakeholders, the APC candidate and INEC to share with them the findings of our observation mission.

“We have also issued a declaration following the postponement of elections, appealing for calm and understanding and also appealing to all authorities to make sure the constitution is respected.”

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