The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has reacted to a threat made by President Buhari to those planning to snatch ballot boxes during the elections.

Buhari, while speaking at the caucus meeting of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Monday, February 18, 2019, revealed that he has asked security agencies to deal ruthlessly with anyone planning to disrupt the elections.

He said "Anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb it, maybe that's the last unlawful action you'll take.

"I really gave the military and the police order to be ruthless. We're not going to be blamed that we want to rig elections. I want Nigerians to be respected. Let them vote whoever they want across the parties.

"I'm going to warn anybody who thinks he has enough influence in his locality to lead a body of thugs to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system, he'll do it at the expense of his own life."

The PDP, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan described the comment as a direct call for jungle justice.

The party said it is an attempt by the ruling APC to divert the attention of Nigerians from its rigging plot.

Read the full statement below:

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alerts Nigerians that the Buhari Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) plot to trigger widespread political crisis to derail our democratic process and plunge our nation into anarchy.

The PDP says President Muhammadu Buhari’s threat to the lives of Nigerians, at the opening of APC’s national caucus meeting in Abuja today, is a direct call for jungle justice and attempt to divert public attention from their closed session where details of their dastardly plot to truncate our democratic process will be perfected.

We do hope that this call by President Buhari is not a camouflage for the fake soldiers mobilized by the APC to shoot at innocent Nigerians, snatch ballot boxes and execute their rigging plans on the election day. It is indeed a license to kill, which should not come from any leader of any civilized nation.

The underlining fact to the above is that President Buhari and APC leaders, upon getting to their voting constituencies last Saturday, realized that there is a nationwide rejection of Buhari’s re-election bid, and this has thrown them into a panic mode.

President Buhari must however bear in mind that his resort to threats and scaremongering will not deter Nigerians from coming out en-masse to vote him out of office on February 23.

We are aware that President Buhari, who had earlier boasted that nobody can ‘unseat’ him, is bent on using every dictatorial and tyrannical act to truncate the process of a free, fair and credible election.

Intelligence available to us shows that the Buhari Presidency has directed the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately reshuffle the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in order to deploy compromised officials to manipulate the electoral process in President Buhari’s favour, as they did with the police shortly before February 16.

Our party is also aware of the pressure being mounted by the Buhari Presidency on INEC to cancel elections in some states and make others inconclusive so as to achieve President Buhari’s objectives of a staggered election not minding the crisis such will trigger across the federation.

We want Nigerians and the international community to hold President Buhari personally responsible for any electoral crisis, otherwise he will as usual, claim that he was not aware of the plots and transfer the blame to Adams Oshiomhole and Rotimi Amaechi.

It is already known that President Buhari has been unrelenting in his attempts to subdue our democracy by trying to subjugate the legislature, emasculate the judiciary and seize control of the electoral umpire.

Nevertheless, the PDP wants to assure President Buhari that our nation is bigger than him and that Nigerians will never allow him and the APC to rig this election. 

Nigerians have reach an irreversible democratic consensus to vote Buhari out and elect the Peoples Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who is ready to rescue our nation from the hardship, anguish, agony and bloodletting which the Buhari administration has plunged us.

Tinubu's reaction

Meanwhile, the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu has said that the president's statement is not an endorsement of extra-judicial killing.

Tinubu said Buhari is law abiding and will never order the killing of any citizen.