OrderPaperToday – Two weeks after the conclusion of elections in Kogi and Bayelsa States, the Senate has condemned the spate of killings during elections in the country.
The lawmakers also observed a minute’s silence in honour of those that lost their lives in the elections.
The condemnation followed a motion moved by Senator George Sekibo who observed that since the commencement of the fourth republic in 1999, elections have been tainted with violence, which has risen to unimaginable dimensions with skyrocketing incidents of killing and destruction.
He said, “According to the United States Institute of Peace, in 2003 and 2007, 100 and 300 persons died respectively through election related violence in the country. However, in 2011, post-election violence that took place in three days claimed 800 lives and properties that run into billions of naira were destroyed.
“According to National Human Rights Commission, between January and February, 2015, about 58 people were killed in 61 incidents of election violence across 22 states in the country, while the Nigerian Security Tracker (NST) documented 106 election related deaths out of which 62 were killed months preceding the elections, 44 persons also died in the two weeks following the election; and most of the deaths were carried out by armed thugs,” Sekibo said.
Speaking further, the senator noted that armed thuggery has increased in 2019 compared to previous elections, with privileged politicians using either armed thugs or security agents to disrupt the electioneering process.
He added, “The recent cannibalistic action of armed thugs carrying out carnage on each other before, during and after the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States in the just concluded elections. This has called for the question ‘which way is our country heading to?’
“The country’s electoral management body is not strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted by the political system and the electoral misconducts that accompany it continue to threaten the deepening of democratisation process. This negative effect of electoral violence in the country would continue to reduce the citizens’ confidence in the democratic process as well as heighten the fears of possible democratic collapse”.
Senators who contributed to the motion equally condemned electoral violence in the country, especially in the recently concluded gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
The Senate, in its resolution, called on the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to carry out continued campaigns against electoral violence in subsequent elections.