The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has expressed concern over the conduct of security personnel in the March 23 supplementary elections in some states of the Federation.
The group which deployed observers for the supplementary governorship elections in fives states of Bauchi, Kano, Benue, Plateau and Sokoto, condemned what it called ‘voter intimidation and insecurity’ in some states where the exercises held.
Convener of Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, stated this at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday.
According to him, actions of political parties and their supporters not only undermine the confidence in Nigeria’s electoral process but also prevent voters from coming out to exercise their franchise.
Nwankwo said while there were reports of widespread vote buying in Kano and Bauchi States, Sokoto and Plateau States recorded underaged voting.
He called for the cancellation of results in Gama Ward of Kano State following widespread incidents of violence, thuggery as well as abuse of the electoral process.
“Early reports received from the collation process in Gama Ward in Nasarawa Local Government of Kano State showed that observers were denied access to the collation centre contrary to INEC Regulations and Guidelines. By Paragraph 48 of the Guidelines, accredited domestic and foreign observers shall be allowed access to collation centres.
“Some of the flaws observed are recurrent in Nigeria’s elections. As a country, we need to condemn these acts of voter intimidation and insecurity that have reoccurred in the supplementary elections even leading to the shooting of a returning officer. Safety of Election Day workers, INEC Staff and ad-hoc staff, returning officers and observers are not guaranteed and portends great danger for future elections in Nigeria. Actions of political parties and their supporters continue to undermine the confidence in our electoral process as well as the rights of citizens to participate fully in elections and cast their votes without fear.
“Situation Room believes that the levels of abuse recorded in Gama ward is of such monumental proportions as to necessitate INEC expunging the outcome of the supposed voting results coming from Gama ward from the final collation of results for the Kano State Governorship electrons. Situation Room also calls on INEC to ensure that there is an end to supplementary elections, as it appears that the process is now a manipulation tool to circumvent the elections,” he said.
Also, the convener expressed shock at the inaction of security personnel in Beli and Gama Wards in Rogo and Nasarawa Local Government Areas respectively despite widespread political thuggery and intimidation of voters.
He wondered why the exercise witnessed violence and abuse of electoral process despite the deployment of senior police officers.
“In the previous elections, the State Commissioner of Police took charge without senior level officers. It is therefore ironic and curious that this level of violence and political thuggery would occur with this quantum of senior Police Officers deployed. Situation Room has always advocated against redeployment of Commissioners of Police ahead of elections,” he stated.
OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja