Alex Enumah in Abuja
An Election Violence Monitoring and Mitigation group, the Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI) has listed Lagos, Imo and Delta amongst 13 other states as areas that are at high risk of violence in Saturday’s governorship and state houses of assembly’s election.
KDI, which observed that there were a total of 131 cases of violence in the month of February alone, “with 89 of them being presidential Election Day violence”, called on all election stakeholders to ensure that all efforts are made towards having a violence-free election on Saturday.
KDI Executive Director, Mr. Bukola Idowu, in a Preliminary Statement ahead of the 2023 Governorship and State House of Assembly Election, disclosed that Pre-election environment monitoring showed that there had been 482 cases of electoral violence in Nigeria, “leading to over 160 deaths between January 1, 2022 to March 17, 2023”.
Idowu noted that as the country moves closer to the state elections, there have been increase reports of incitements and political party groups attack in Lagos, Kano and Rivers States amongst others.
“While we know that stakeholders are spreading peace messaging around the states, we strongly suggest that on March 18 election special attention should be given to Lagos, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Oyo, Cross River, Ebonyi and Ogun in the south, while Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano and Bauchi are states that our analysis has been marked as areas at the risk of violence in the election”, the group stated.
KDI, also observed that the issue of violence before and during the presidential election negatively affected women’s participation and representation, adding that, “We have seen the situation where female candidates are being harassed in Kogi and Lagos. We outrightly condemn this and believe #WeCanDoBetter as a people in creating a safe political space for women to strive “.
The group however enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure all election materials arrive at the various polling units timeously and that election commences promptly to avoid violence.
Besides, KDI charged the Commission to ensure that all adhoc staff posted to the field are well equipped and can handle the business of the polls, “as any perceived ineptitude on the part of INEC staff could call for violence.
In addition, the group charged security operatives to live up to expectations and not be seen to be in support of any political party or help in perpetrating electoral fraud.
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