Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of the Joint Action Civil Society Coalition have listed 17 states as prone to election violence in 2019.
The states, according to them, include; “Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers and Bayelsa states (South-South); Abia and Imo states (South-East); Oyo, and Osun, Ondo states (South-West); Bauchi, Borno and Yobe states (North-East); Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and Plateau (in the Middle-Belt/North Central), and Kaduna, Kano, and Zamfara states (North-West).”
Briefing newsmen in Abuja yesterday, Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, Austin Okhiria Agbonsuremi, Abiodun Baiyewu, Cheta Nwanze, Ier Ichaver-Jonathan and Adamu Kotokorshi noted that the rise in violent killings across Nigeria in the course of 2018 is a cause of worry about public safety and security in relation to Nigeria’s 2019 general elections.
“Since we set up the #StopTheKillings monitor in May 2018, we are yet to record a single week in which multiple, violent killings were not reported in Nigeria. Its peak was this month in which we recorded 209 killings, and the lowest was 74 in August 2018.
“It indicative of the fact that not only have the killings continued to rise almost unabated, our security institutions have failed time and again to ensure that their perpetrators are identified, dutifully apprehended and brought to justice,” they said.
They noted that impunity fuels the deadly violence which, from all indications, will impact the 2019 general elections except immediate action is taken to stem the tide.
“We note with concern the unresolved violent crises across the country: the insurgency in the North-East, the worsening armed banditry in Zamfara State, the herdsmen and farmers crises in the Benue valley, the violent attacks on Shi’ite Muslims in and around the Federal Capital, resource control violence in the South-South and South-East regions of the country; the rise in deadly gang and cult activities everywhere, including the South-West and more so the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALWs) across the country. This lethal combination of unabated violence, access to weapons and Nigeria’s propensity for turbulent and fiercely contested elections do not bode well for the peace of the 2019 elections,” the group noted.
Asserting that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government as enshrined in ‘S14(2)(b) Constitution FRN 1999,’” they said their conclusions were drawn from government’s failure to concertedly address the crises and their underlying causes, and stem impunity; and their failure at all levels to adequately communicate with citizens and carry them along in the quest to achieve the national aspiration of “one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.”
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