Yiaga Africa, an election monitoring organisation, has called for immediate action from the security agencies and stakeholders to see to the increase in politically motivated violence threatening the 2023 elections.
The group in a report made available to Tribune Online noted that the 2023 election will no doubt be conducted amidst varying levels of insecurity.
Yaiga Africa said the growing threat of violence and attacks on the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) facilities are “also becoming a recurring incident in the pre-election phase, compounding the security challenges.”
The group admonished, “Security agencies should deploy intelligence and employ preventive measures to neutralise existing threats against the destruction of INEC offices and materials to ensure that voters can exercise their constitutional right to vote in a peaceful and secure environment; if this trend is not curbed voters will be disenfranchised from exercising… security agents should apprehend and prosecute the hoodlums attacking the INEC offices in Ogun and Osun states etc.
“The second reporting period for the Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote pre-election observation recorded reports of election-related violence, violence against women, unchecked abuse of power by state government’s imposing undue restrictions on campaigns, the purchase of permanent voters card (PVC) and voter inducement.
“While INEC has sustained its preparations for the elections, achieving credible election is a responsibility shared with electoral stakeholders.
“The recent ‘coordinated and premeditated’ attacks on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) portends grave danger for Nigeria’s democracy.
“The attacks could impede INEC’s preparations for the general elections and diminish citizens’ confidence in the electoral process. Similarly, women experience different forms of violence, intimidation and harassment for engaging in electoral politics. Online and offline attacks targeted at women are on a high increase with little or no action from relevant authorities to abate these cases.
Aside, the election monitoring group said its observers witnessed the level of the inducement of voters through the distribution of money and gift items across geopolitical zones.
“In the second reporting period, 4% of observers across the country directly observed the distribution of money or gift items in the LGAs, and 9% of WTV LTOs heard of the distribution of money or gift items in the LGAs.”