Ballot box snatchers: FEC okays Buhari’s ‘shoot-at-sight’ order

As FG orders immediate salary payment 

THE Federal Executive Council (FEC) has given its backing to President Muhammadu Buhari’s order to the military to deal ruthlessly with ballot box snatchers during the coming elections.

The president had disclosed the order at a meeting of the National Caucus of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Abuja on Monday, saying that whoever engages in the act will pay with his life.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, told State House correspondents at the end of the council meeting presided over by President Buhari in Abuja that the FEC agreed with his position.

When asked if the council supported the order to the military, he said: “Absolutely. I mean if you want to intimidate voters to steal the mandate of the people, you should be able to face the wrath of the law.”

The minister also spoke on measures to lessen the problems of Nigerians who will be travelling back to various places to vote, revealing that the government has authorised the immediate payment of February salary to its workers.

He also spoke of the offers by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and some airlines to reduce their prices as a way of ameliorating commuters’ plight.

The minister said: “The Independent Petroleum organisation of Nigeria, (IPMAN), with over 50,000 members and who control almost 80 per cent of our distribution network, met a couple days ago met on how to cushion the effect of postponement, announced the reduction of the price of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) from N145 per liter to N140 per liter. This discount reflects the alignment of IPMAN with government and the discount is valid between the 21st of February and the 25th, this year to allow those who want to go back home to vote.

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“Also, the National Union of Road Transport Workers, which has about 2 million members and who operate motor parks in all 774 local government areas of the country, an affiliate of Nigeria Labour Congress with members cutting across drivers, busboys, motor parks operators etc, have offered to provide discounts to travelers using their motor parks and members who are looking to travel to their respective voting points. This discount is also to encourage voters who would have normally been disenfranchised as a result of INEC’s postponement. This discount is also valid between the 21st of February and the 25th of February.

“Arik and Aero airlines have also thrown in their own incentives. Aero contractors have offered a 50 per cent discount to all travellers who present their the permanent Voters card (PVC) at the purchasing point. Arik will be selling their one-way ticket at N16,000 to any destination across the country. This is to support Nigerians looking to travel to cast their vote. The discount is valid between the 18th of February and the 11th of March.

“On the part of the federal government also, we decided that to make it easy for those who will want to go back to vote, salary payment started yesterday (Tuesday) as opposed to the normal 25th of every month. This is just to ease the burden of people who want to go back and cast their vote.”