The Presidency has said President Muhammadu Buhari should be praised for passing a death sentence to ballot snatchers without recourse to the judiciary.
Mr Buhari had threatened ballot snatchers who wish to cart away voting materials in the coming general election that it might be the last unlawful act they are going to indulge in.
He said order has been given security agencies to kill whoever indulges in the act at the scene of the crime. The order is a gross violation of what the constitution says.
Defending its principal, the Presidency said the experiences in past elections in parts of Nigeria was why the order was issued and Nigerians who are criticising the decision ought to be praising the president.
“Snatching ballot boxes often entails putting the lives of innocent Nigerians at risk,” presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“About 10 years ago, evidence was brought before an election tribunal from one of the states in North Central of the gruesome killing of 26 prospective voters by ballot box snatchers.
“Their modus operandi is well known. They storm election venues in commando style, overwhelm the law-enforcement agents and seize ballot boxes leaving a trail of death and injury.
“Anyone who dares to put the lives of innocent citizens at risk in their desperation to rig elections, must be prepared for the possibility of losing their own lives because our security agents will certainly not stand by, clap for them and watch them kill and maim.
“He added that President Buhari had the safety and security of Nigerians uppermost in mind when he made the comment, and should be praised rather than criticised for issuing this stern warning to potential ballot box snatchers,” he said.
Mr Shehu said those jittery of the order, including the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are those whose stock in trade is to snatch ballot boxes during election.
“This sounds like members of the opposition, specifically the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who have perfected plans to rig the elections and to snatch ballot boxes.
“They can tell that President Buhari is not prepared to tolerate their antics this time around, and they are afraid. They have shown their intent.
“Let’s just have free and fair elections and no one need worry about anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has kicked against the president’s punishment, saying those found culpable of violating electoral laws will be dealt with as stipulated in the act of the commission.