President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Malabo promised decisive punishment for sponsors of violence in Rivers State, describing the killing of people over political differences as primitive, barbaric and unacceptable.
The Nigeria leader, who was speaking during an interactive meeting with Nigerians resident in Equatorial Guinea, said he had given the security services clear directives in this regard.
"We will show that violence in any form will no longer be tolerated before, during or after elections," he pledged.
President Buhari also said that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be encouraged to explore the possibility of Nigerians abroad voting in the 2019 general elections
Noting that some African countries have started allowing their citizens resident abroad to vote in national elections, the President said that he fully empathised with the desire of Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote in national elections.
He therefore pledged to do everything within his powers to fulfil that desire. "I want all Nigerians to know that I respect them and their right to choose their leaders," he said.
It would be recalled that in 2011, during similar state visits to Ethiopia and South Korea, his predecessor, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, made similar promises to empower Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote, but he never honoured them.
President Buhari also told his listeners in Malabo that establishing a new national airline was not currently on the Federal Government's list of priorities. He was responding to complaints about the absence of direct flights between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea.
He declared that his administration's main area of focus now was to reduce the level of poverty in the country.
The President said that developing the infrastructure needed to boost production in all sectors of the economy and create more jobs for young Nigerians, as well as other actions that will directly improve the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians will continue to be prioritized by his administration.
President Buhari assured them that his administration's war against corruption will remain "fearless, relentless and merciless".
"We will be merciless and relentless in pursuing all those who abused public trust. Nigerians will see how some of the elite conspired to run the nation down," he said.