The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, has expressed concern over the shortcomings of the 2019 general elections which, it said, recorded the death of 58 Nigerians.
The group said there were reports about the prevalence of vote-buying in Adamawa, Sokoto, Lagos, Delta, Enugu, Ekiti, Bauchi, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kwara, Zamfara, Kebbi, Oyo, Kano and Osun States within the range of N500 and N5,000.
While demanding an independent inquiry into the exercise, the organisation condemned the spate of violence and bloodshed, especially in Rivers State in the governorship and House of Assembly elections, the CSSR said, “since 2011, elections in Rivers State have been a major theatre for violence.”
The Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and Convener, NCSSR, Clement Nwankwo, expressed these views in its third preliminary statement on Sunday.
The independent inquiry, Nwankwo said, should address challenges of procurement, logistics management, role of the military and abuse of process by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
While appreciating the existing security challenges across the country, Situation Room said it was worried about reports of excessive military involvement in the elections, particularly in the South-South and South-East, specifically Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Imo states.
“The militarisation of the country’s electoral process is a troubling one as this is not just about the presence of military officials, but the actions of our intelligence agencies, the use of the military by the political class and the partisanship and non-recourse to rules of engagement of our armed forces”, it said.
Nwankwo said, “Situation Room states unequivocally that elections are for citizens to democratically exercise their right to choose their government and as such, no election should cost lives. Situation Room notes with profound sadness the election-related violence that has led to the deaths of 58 Nigerians in this electoral cycle including Hon. Temitope Olatoye (aka Sugar) of Oyo State who was shot and Sunday Oroh in Enugu State on Saturday.”
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