A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has rejected the claims made by Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, that direct primaries proposed in the Electoral Act will gulp N500bn.

Abubakar Malami, had in a phone-in programme on Radio Kano reportedly explained that President Muhammadu Buhari declined assent to the Electoral Act Amendment following the huge amount the proposed direct primaries would cost the nation, apart from other reasons.

In a statement jointly issued Ariyo-Dare Atoye, Executive Director, Adopt A Goal Initiative; Kenneth Eze, Executive Director, Speak Out Africa Initiative; and Jude Feranmi, the convener, Raising New Voices Initiative, the CSOs rejected the AGF’s claim.

They said it would cost the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the 18 registered political parties less than N10bn to organise direct primaries.

The CSOs noted that they considered it a public service “to respond to the disingenuous claims and reasons for the executive veto of the amended electoral bill made by the AGF and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.”

According to the statement, “Henceforth, media organisations and platforms interviewing Mr. Malami should endeavour to ask him to present a position paper or a financial document to substantiate his claims that it would cost political parties and INEC hundreds of billions naira to organize direct primaries.”

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