National Peace Committee Clarifies Stance on Electoral Violations Ahead of 2023 General Elections

The National Peace Committee (NPC), spearheaded by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, has addressed concerns regarding its handling of electoral infractions during the 2023 general elections. Amidst criticism for purportedly overlooking reported breaches of the peace accord, particularly during the February 25 presidential election where President Bola Tinubu emerged victorious, the NPC provided insight into its role and limitations.

Responding to queries, Revd Fr Atta Barkindo, the Head of Secretariat and Executive Director of The Kukah Centre, elucidated that the NPC lacks the constitutional authority to apprehend or prosecute erring politicians. Speaking at the unveiling of a preliminary evaluation report on support to the NPC through The Kukah Centre, Barkindo underscored the distinction between the NPC’s moral intervention and the legal jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies.

Barkindo emphasized, “What people don’t understand is that the NPC as a peace committee doesn’t have a constitutional power to arrest or prosecute anybody. All the agencies constituted by law are available to do all that.” He reiterated that the NPC’s primary function is to provide moral guidance and support, stepping in when institutional mechanisms falter.

Highlighting the significance of public commitments to the electoral process, Barkindo noted, “When you assemble presidential candidates two days to an election and they are all over the media, they can actually publicly recommit themselves to the process.” He stressed that such reaffirmations contribute to reducing tension and fostering accountability among political contenders.

Moreover, Barkindo lauded the overall adherence to the peace accord, citing the absence of widespread violence following the announcement of election results. He commended aggrieved parties for resorting to legal avenues, aligning with the accord’s stipulation to seek redress through the judicial system.

In conclusion, Barkindo urged law enforcement agencies to fulfill their mandate in addressing electoral violence, affirming, “The rest of the issues of violence, there are agencies constituted by law to address that. I think they should just get up and do their job.” The NPC reiterated its commitment to promoting peace and stability within the electoral landscape while respecting the boundaries of its mandate.

 

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