Fri. Dec 1st, 2023

Maureen Okpe

The Gender and Election Watch (GEW) Room, of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) has called for the prosecution of perpetrators of violence during the just concluded election, stating the need for the implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) act.

It’s Chief Executive Officer Mufuliat Fijabi made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, at the Post-Election Press Briefing on the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections noting, strict security measures be adopted to protect women in the future, while commending the women for their self will at the poll.

According to Fijabi “GEW commends all the female candidates in these elections and recommends stringent security measures to protect female candidates in elections and the full application of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, (2015) on all perpetrators of acts of violence.

“We are also worried at the kind of violence experienced by some female candidates and the electorate and condemn it in very strong terms while calling upon relevant security agencies to take action to forestall future occurrence.

“Security should continue to comply with the requirements of the law on elections and uphold it to record zero intimidation of voters on election day. Women need to be assured of their safety during elections.

“The effort of the security agencies is commendable but needs more improvement to record zero security breaches and intimidation throughout the duration of elections specially to secure the confidence and participation of women in the electoral process.

She further commended the participation of women as voters, poll officials and candidates noting, Women are resilient and committed to a truly democratic process.

The Executive Officer also stated that, through the feedback from the 400 observers deployed, the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections has been largely peaceful.

However, the challenges associated with the delays experienced in the opening of polls, pockets of disruption and the slow and untimely upload of results on the IREV remain strong concerns for Nigeria’s democracy.

Fijabi said, “While commending technological innovations in elections, thorough testing is a necessity before affirmation to avoid irregularities that could mar an entire electoral process.

“These are technological innovations that have added value to elections in Nigeria. In most polling units where observation took place, it was noted that the machines worked well and a few places where it did not work, it was fixed but resulting in a delayed start of polling which accounted for some of the voters including women leaving the queue to go back home without voting. The delayed upload of results was a challenge which impacted on the electorate.”

The Gender and Election Watch, (GEW) Room, is an initiative of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF), an organization founded to close the gender gaps in governance in Nigeria. GEW is an election observation platform from a gender perspective. The GEW observed the 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections which started on Saturday, 25 February 2023 and continued into the early hours of 26 February 2023.

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