Violence has escalated, militarisation threat to voters – Situation Room

The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has expressed concern over the worsening security environment about the governorship and state assembly elections.

The worsening security environment, it said, got to a frightening dimension on the eve of the March 9 elections.

The organisation said reports at its disposal indicated “an escalation of violence between and within political parties and their supporters.”

The Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener, NCSSR, Clement Nwankwo, in a second preliminary statement, said there were also “reports of partisanship of security agencies in the discharge of their duties, harassing and intimidating candidates, their supporters and voters.”

He said, “Reports from across several states and some RECs point to an intimidating presence of military personnel who are unwilling to assist in providing security and safe delivery of election materials in locations and INEC completely helpless in this circumstance.”

According to him, the deployment of military hardware including fighter jets, attack helicopters and excessive military deployment across the country poses an unacceptable and disenfranchising atmosphere.

He said the militarisation represented a major disincentive for good voter turnout or free exercise of choice by citizens.

Nwankwo said, “The tension is palpable and would only serve to undermine the credibility of the election process. Situation Room calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately issue orders to the military hierarchy to comply with their constitutional and legal responsibilities and conduct themselves within the scope of their roles and responsibility as provided in Section 29 (3) of the Electoral Act 2015 as Amended.

“The escalation of violence has led to loss of lives and destruction of properties on Friday in Oto-Awori, Ojo Local Government Area in Lagos State, where 35 vehicles were burnt and two persons killed as a result of violence between members of the All Progressives Congress.

“There is tension and apprehension in Okirika LGA in Rivers State due to heavy deployment of the military and sporadic gunshots. These are just a few examples of the escalating cases of violence that our observers have reported.”
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