Civil Society coalition says Nigeria’s 2019 election were flawed, and poorly managed
NIGERIA: THE Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has claimed that 626 persons were killed across the West African country in the six months between the start of the election campaign and the beginning of the general and supplementary elections.
According to the coalition, while releasing its final report on the 2019 general election in Abuja, the number increased compared to the 106 killed in the country’s 2015 general elections.
The country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23 and governorship and state assembly elections were held on March 9. But, supplementary elections in five states were also held in March.
Civil Society Situation Room listed the numbers of deaths per the six geopolitical zones in the country.
It said: “Situation Room is deeply worried about the spike in politically motivated killings in the period leading up to the elections,
“At least, 626 people were said to have been killed between the start of the campaign in October 2018 and the final election in March 2019.”
The Northwest region recorded the highest number of deaths with 172 killed during the elections and the Northeast followed with 146 fatalities.
The report added that the Southsouth and Northcentral had 120 and 111 fatalities.
Also, sixty-three people were killed in the South-west, while 14 were killed in the South-east.
The organisation also claimed that Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Rivers, and Zamfara led with the highest casualties during the elections.
Only a few of the perpetrators of the violence were arrested by security agencies who seemed overwhelmed.
Rivers State has been notorious for electoral violence since 2011. There were also reported attacks on National Youth Corps Service members in Etche local government. The casualty included soldiers who engaged in shootouts with armed political thugs.
According to a report by the Rivers Commission of Inquiry, a monthly average of 19 killings occurred in the state in election violence between November 2014 and April 2015.
The commission instituted by Chibuike Amaechi, the former Rivers State governor, noted that out of the 97 allegations of killings it received, 94 of them occurred between November 15, 2014 and April 11, 2015.
Apart from killings that occurred during the 2019 polls, there were also many incidents of ballot box snatching, assaults, abductions, and harassment.
Also, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in its 2019 election report published by said about 150 people were killed in election-related violence in different parts of the country.
The EU EOM said: “The elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation. This harmed the integrity of the electoral process and may deter future participation.
”Around 150 people died in election-related violence during the campaign period and over the election days. INEC reported attacks on its offices, and also fatalities, abductions and sexual assault against its officials.”
The report said besides the number of killings, the elections at both the federal and state levels were affected by thuggery, rigging and vote-buying. While the federal elections witnessed a voter turnout of 35.6 per cent, the state-level elections saw an even lower turnout.