The United States government has condemned what it describes as the “rhetorical threat of violence” of some politicians even as Nigeria prepares for the 2015 general elections.
The U.S. stated this on Thursday in a statement released by its Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria.
The U.S. said it is deeply troubled by the statement made by the Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shehu Shema, calling for the killing of those he described as “cockroaches of politics.”
It said the rhetorical threat of violence undermines the democratic process and is utterly unacceptable in a democratic society. The U.S., therefore, called on all Nigerians to refrain from advocating, fomenting, or condoning violence before, during, or after the elections.
It further advised participants in the electoral process to demonstrate passion for their convictions and beliefs in a manner that shows respect for opposing differences.
“Respect the dignity of other citizens and the rights and legitimate interests of citizens to live in unity and harmony,” the statement reads.
It added that, “All Nigerians must be free to voice their opinions and participate in the electoral process without fear of physical retribution. Political parties, elected leaders, and candidates for office have a special obligation to uphold these democratic precepts.”
While reiterating its commitment to work with Nigeria to strengthen its democratic institutions in the years to come, the U.S said a peaceful election in February 2015 would constitute a major step towards reaching the goal.
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