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Ethnic groups urge security agencies to be neutral

Ethnic nationalities in Nigeria numbering over 400 have called on the Federal Government and security agencies to ensure that the presidential election scheduled for February 25 was credible, fair, credible and transparent.

They also called on the youths in the country to eschew violence and shun all manners of electoral malpractices deployed by politicians masquerading as statesmen to rig the elections.

The nationalities under the aegis of Nigeria Ethnic Nationalities Youth Leaders Council also said they had resolved to engage the leading presidential candidates on their respective youth development agenda.

The President-General of NENYLC, Terry Obeih, spoke on behalf of the organisation during a press conference in Abuja attended by Okwu Nnabuike (Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide), Balarabe Rufa’i (Coalition of Northern Groups), Oladotun Hassan (Omoluabi), Emmanuel Zopma (Middle Belt Youth Forum), amongst others.

He said, “Being the apex coalition body of over 407 ethnic groups in Nigeria, we are extremely concerned about the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct free, fair and credible elections as we move in closely to the general elections.

“We are using this medium to serve a note of advice to all assigned INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, Returning Officers, Polling Officials and National Commissioners to remain apolitical, unbiased and neutral during the entire electioneering process.

“We equally call on the Nigerian youths to shun any form of violence and all manners of electoral malpractices, and while admonishing all well-meaning Nigerians to stop all manners of campaign of calumnies predicated ethnic bigotry and religious animosity capable of overheating the political atmosphere.”

“While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure absolute neutrality and guide the entire processes and urging all law enforcement agents and security and institutional architecture to build common synergy and remain steadfast to ensure watertight security and management of the election, it is pertinent to inform all Nigerian youths not to lose hope.

“We are equally using this medium to reassure all Nigerians that as part of our noble mandates, we shall be organizing a National Youth Conversation to engage the leading Presidential candidates next month in Abuja around their agenda for youth development and peaceful coexistence.”

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