The Center for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Development’s Election Analysis Centre (EAC) has expressed worry over the “quantum of violence” which characterized the 2019 general elections.
The group while briefing Newsmen in Abuja on Sunday stated that a total of 30 Nigerians lost their lives across the country to different forms of electoral violence.
The CDD also disclosed that threat of violence also kept away some voters from the polls, resulting in low voter turnout during the Governorship and House of Assembly polls.
In a report signed by the CDD-EAC Chair, Adele Jinadu, and Idayat Hassan, Director, CDD, the group said, “The CDD EAC finds worrying the quantum of violence that characterised the elections this year.
“A total of thirty people has so far been killed across the country. Armed thugs turned their guns on citizens and opposing political parties.
The group also noted with dismay the actions of armed bandits and boko haram insurgents in Katsina and Adamawa states and the failure of security personnel to protect the electoral staff and materials.
“We also note with dismay the activities of security personnel around the country, who have been accused of interference in the electoral process and failure to protect electoral staff and materials.” The group said.
To this end, the group called for the need to review the rules of engagement guiding the involvement of security personnel in election duties.
Further, the group condemned the Different forms of threats, harassment, abductions and assault reported during the elections.
“Our monitors on the ground did not only report cases of intimidation but were victims, too.” The group said.
It added, “One of our observers was arrested by soldiers in the Mile 2 area of Lagos by soldiers on his way to cover the protest over non-payment of allowances by ad-hoc staff. Political thugs slapped and abducted our observer in at PU 2 Afaha Nsit ward of Akwa Ibom and later requested a ransom.
“Our observer was abducted by political thugs for reporting and sharing photos and permanent voter’s card of underaged voters in Polling Unit 15, Ward 04 of Shendam local government area of in Plateau state. He was later released.
“In a related incident, a politician slapped a BBC journalist in Lagos in a brazen show of power.”
The CDD also said that the weaponisation of abductions of INEC staff and the ad-hoc staff was worrisome and constitutes a drawback to the progress we have made so far.
“INEC officials were kidnapped and later released in Benue, Katsina, Kogi, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Rivers during voting and collation of results, with Katsina alone recording 20 cases of abductions. ” The CDD said.
The CDD also also regrets that Buying and selling of votes prevailed despite the warning by INEC, security agencies and the anti-corruption agencies anf posed remained a significant concern during the governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
However, the group noted that voters and politicians played significant roles in the vote trading market.
“The trend, as we observed, is that voters are bargaining for a higher amount and sell their vote to the party with the ability to meet their demand. The trend is that votes traded from as low as N250 to N7,000.”
The CDD also expressed concern over Cases of underage voting reported by uts observers in Kano, Bauchi and Plateau States.
“INEC needs to address the issue of underage voting for future elections seriously.” The CDD adviced.
The CDD therefore stressed the needs to strengthen the process leading to and resulting in them in a manner to create a fair playing ground for all political parties and a political and legal framework that will ensure electoral integrity.