UN Okays Polls Shifts, Onslaught Against Boko Haram

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The United Nations Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, on Tuesday expressed the backing of the global body for Nigeria over the postponement of her general elections to March 28th and April 11th.

He stated that the development was an opportunity for the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to ensure all registered Nigerians get their permanent voters card as well as prepare to conduct a free, fair and credible polls.

He has also expressed the UN’s full support for Nigeria’s onslaught against terrorist sect, Boko Haram and has pledged the support of the world’s body through its department of Peacekeeping to eliminate the sect.

He also pledged further humanitarian support  to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to ensure the Internally displaced persons as a result of Boko Haram, are adequately and comfortably taken care of.

Moon’s message was delivered by the Special Representative of UN Secretary General for Nigeria and West Africa, Ibn Chambas.

Chambas who is also the former President of Economic Community of West African State, (ECOWAS) Commission, said the issue of Boko Haram terrorists activities in north east of Nigeria and also in neighboring countries, remains a source of concern.

He told newsmen at the State House after a closed door meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan, that “the UN stands firmly behind Nigeria in its legitimate fight against Boko Haram terrorists. Mr. President has the assurance of the Secretary General for the recent initiative whereby the Lake Chad Basin Commission, will be the platform to anchor the multinational task force which is being put in place.

“There will be a support of the United Nation through the department of peacekeeping to ensure that the concept of operations and planning and other activities to ensure a truly joint operational force with a clear commanding control and unity of purpose among the different countries contributing troops that they all work as one and get their efforts towards degrading and eliminating Boko Haram. And in this you can count on the strong support of the United Nations”, he said.

On UN’s assistant to NEMA, Chambas said, “the Secretary General wishes to assure that in the area of humanitarian support with the displaced persons in Nigeria we will continue to work with Nigerian authorities.
The President has assured that full material and logistical support would be provided to NEMA, the UN systems and other partners would work with NEMA and we hope that through our joint efforts, we will be able to bring some amelioration to the lives of the people who have been internally displaced as a result of the barbaric and cruel action of Boko Haram.

On the election postponements, Moon, commended Jonathan and other political parties for accepting the shift.

Chambas said, “On Friday,  the Secretary General had a telephone conversation with Mr. President, in fact a day before he had spoken to Mr. Buhari, of course at that time it was sensed about the possible postponement of the elections in this country.

“We have seen that the postponement has been accepted by all the political parties and stakeholders. The reasons adduced are known now. Of course in some states it’s clear that very few people relatively have been able to collect their PVCs. The extension provides an opportunity for many more Nigerians to collect these cards and be able to exercise franchise.

“But above all, the Secretary General told me to commend Mr. President and other leaders of the political parties and Nigerians as a whole for the maturity that have been demonstrated so far in this whole preparation towards the general elections which are now schedule for later in March.

“We saw first of all the primaries, there were a lot of speculations about how they will go, there transpired in a very calm and peaceful  manner. The campaigns started and again, Nigerians have demonstratd a lot of maturity in the general manner in which the campaigns have taken place.

“Naturally in periods such as this, there will be heightened  tension, heightens rhetoric but on the whole we have very little violence associated with this process. And this is the same also with the postponement, where there were a lot of speculations about what will happen but so far this process has been proceeding in a calm, peaceful and credible manner.

“This is the wish certainly of the UN but also many friends of Nigeria. It is our expectations that all will continue to exercise retrain and keep this process clean. And that at the end of the day Nigerians will all accept the outcome of the vote of the people.

“In short, the message is that we appreciate the pure manner in which the electoral process is proceeding, the Secretary General commend the president and other political leaders to continue on that part.

“The Secretary General express strong support in the fight against Boko Haram. Boko Haram is not a threat only to Nigeria or the region but indeed is an international issue, and requires full international support in Nigeria’s fight against Boko Haram the same way the fight is taken against Al-Shabab, ISIS, Alqada in North Mali, the same effort is required in the fight against Boko Haram”.

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