Senate To Tackle Electoral Violence, Condemns Killing Of Kogi PDP Woman Leader

 

The Senate is set tackle electoral violence and come up with a Bill to address election and post-election violence in the country.

This was after Senator George Sekibo cited Orders 42 & 52 and moved a motion on public electoral violence during plenary on Tuesday.

The lawmakers condemned the spate of killings in the country and observed a minute silence in honour of those that lost their lives in the just concluded elections in Bayelsa and Kogi State.

READ ALSO: Lawyer Says Hate Speech Bill Is A ‘Distraction, Waste Of Time’

According to the upper chamber, the proposed Bill if signed into law will prescribe severe punishments for perpetrators of violence during any election in the country.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan also during the plenary called on security agencies to bring to justice the killers of the PDP woman leader in Kogi, Mrs Achejuh Abuh. He urged politicians to promote election-free violence during any poll.

“This is a very important motion, no party is absolved from this and we should continue to enlighten our followers to see politics as a game of ideas, people should pay price for their actions,” Lawan said.

Senator Isah Jibrin in his contribution said, “I want to believe there is an urgent Bill that will address election violence in Nigeria. The way forward is that there should be sanctions that will serve as deterrent to election violence.”

Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, warned of dire consequences if the growing violence is not tamed. He said the law must be applied by security agencies in dealing with agents of violence during any election.

“We join them to condemn this electoral violence. People have been known to create violence and nothing has been done. What we should add is that the law enforcement agencies must be up to task.

“The husband of the woman that was killed in Kogi has identified those that committed the crime and they should be arrested. We will urge all legal instruments that can be used to be deployed to curb electoral violence,” Abaribe said.

Senator Abdullahi Yahaya added that “irrespective of the party we belong to, our responsibility is to prevent and curb electoral violence. The security agencies should put good measures and punish the perpetrators of electoral violence.”

The Senate intervention is coming amidst a nationwide outcry over the growing number of victims of election violence, particularly the recent cases in Kogi and Bayelsa States during the 16th November gubernatorial polls.

The lawmakers therefore urged the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and INEC to carry out electoral violence advocacy campaigns in subsequent elections.

They also urged security agencies to apprehend perpetrators of the violence.

Tackle Electoral Violence, Not Third Term, PDP Tells Buhari

Ekiti PDP Holds Governorship Primary Election

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue of violence during elections in the country.

It advised the President to end all attempts to bring the issue of running for another term in 2023 to public discourse, saying “the issue of third term is a dead end.”

The party said this in a statement on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, a day after President Buhari said he has no third term agenda.

The President had told leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at a meeting on Friday in Abuja that he could afford to be reckless because he had no plans to remain in power after his second term.

READ ALSO: I Have No ‘Third Term’ Agenda, Says Buhari

In its reaction, the PDP faulted the violent incidents recorded in the just concluded governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa States.

It asked President Buhari to focus his attention on how to tackle the killings and purported alteration of election results alleged by the ruling party under his watch.

“Touting a respect for the constitution as a way of bringing the issue to public discussion cannot give it a life,” the party stressed, adding, “The PDP notes that if President Buhari seeks to uphold the constitution, he should have used the APC NEC meeting to directly and strongly condemn his party’s resort to violence, killing, forceful invasion of polling units and alteration of results to seize power in the November 16th Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship election as well as the Kogi West Senatorial election.”

 

Probe Violence

The PDP asked President Buhari to summon the nation’s service chiefs and order a presidential investigation into the violence recorded in the elections.

It alleged that a police helicopter was deployed in one of the states to teargas voters, warning that “such a failure, however, registers grave meanings to Nigerians.”

“It is also unfortunate that instead of taking concrete and decisive steps to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crimes in Kogi and Bayelsa to book and give assurances of electoral reforms, Mr President is rather seeking to make discourse of an unattainable third term.

“The PDP urges Nigerians to note Mr President’s well-informed fears that the APC might not survive his tenure,” the party said.

It accused the APC of causing division and hardship in the country, saying that was why some Nigerians resorted to suicide and slavery mission abroad as options.

“… Mr President should know that Nigerians’ expectation of him, in this second and, of course, last term, is the restoration of rule of law and a legacy of electoral reforms that will guarantee free, fair and credible election in Nigeria.

“Anything short of this is unacceptable,” the PDP said.

Election Violence: Nine Arrested In Somolu – Police

 

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Zubairu Muazu, says nine thugs have been arrested in connection with violence during the elections in parts of the state.

Although the CP did not give details of arrests in connection with the violence in Okota, he said some “area boys” were arrested in Somolu.

He said this on Saturday while briefing journalists.

Read Also: Violence Mars Election In Lagos Suburb, Okota

“We had information that there was an issue in Ago Place way, that some people were being intimidated and not allowed to vote. I immediately called the area commander, we moved in there and things are going on well,” he said.

“Then we had some few issues in Somolu and there were some arrests made there.

“Some area boys were trying to disturb the process, being unruly. Nine of them were arrested and they are being investigated. Otherwise, all is well.”

His comments come hours after voting was disrupted in some polling units in the Okota with electoral materials destroyed in at least one unit in the area.

Many people who say they are residents of the area have taken to the social media decrying the violence and sharing pictures of destroyed electoral materials, including ballot papers on fire.

Rivers PDP Condemn Dismissal Of Six Police Officers

Court Adjourns PDP Leadership Suit IndefinitelyThe Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers state, has described the dismissal of six police officers attached to Governor Nyesom Wike during the December 10 rerun elections, as “the height of injustice”.

A statement by the state PDP Chairman, Felix Obuah, said “the humiliation of the six Police officers, which was beamed on national television, clearly showed that the police authorities acted the script of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who were not favored by the outcome of the just concluded Rivers Re-run Election.”

Mr Obuah, in the statement which was signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, further berated the police for allowing itself to be used in what he called a “show of shame”.

The PDP accused the Inspector-General of Police for insulting the sensibilities of Nigerians over his remark that the dismissed police officers were engaged in professional misconduct, arguing that the dismissed police officers were statutorily mandated to protect Governor Wike who is the Chief Security Officer of the State.

He then challenged the IGP to explain to Nigerians the status of the legion of Policemen, SARS and Army officers who accompanied Rotimi Amaechi, Dakuku Peterside, Magnus Abe, Barry Mpigi, Derrick Mene and other APC chieftains, including Akin Fakorede and other policemen caught on video at Collation Centers.

The Party leader, argued that the IGP’s statement in justifying his sacking of the six police officers does not stand the test of reason, wondering why those policemen, soldiers and SARS personnel who accompanied Rotimi Amaechi and Dakuku Peterside to the same Port Harcourt City Local Government Secretariat, have not been sacked and tried for “professional misconduct”.

The PDP lamented that “these reckless actions by the Police is the product of the politics of desperation as institutionalized by the APC, warning that such actions could plunge the country into chaos and ruin the nascent democracy, if not checked”.

Governor Wike, had also condemned the development, while promising to stand by the officers.

Electoral Violence: INEC Describes Incidents As Dangerous To Democracy

Electoral Violence: INEC Describes Incidents As Dangerous To DemocracyThe chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has blamed the level of electoral violence on the lack of enforcement of relevant laws.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu who was speaking at a forum organised by the civil society situation room in Abuja, explained that security agencies have to up their game in order to secure the nation’s democracy.

Electoral Malpractice: Osunbor, Olafemi Condemn NHRC Report

NHRC indicts Oserheimen Osunbor and Clarence OlafemiA former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, has faulted the report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that indicted him for electoral offence.

Professor Osunbor described the allegation as malicious and unfounded during an interview with Channels Television.

“It is a pity that a body that calls himself a human rights commission should be violating the human rights of people.

“I believe something is seriously wrong with our human rights commission for them to be indicting somebody. They never invited me for any investigation.

“They should tell the world what offence I committed and I will be prepared to face the investigation if that is actually the case,” he said.

The former governor stated that the NHRC also acted in contempt of court for indicting him a second time after he had earlier sued them for indicting him falsely.

Meanwhile, a former Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly and acting governor of the state, Mr Clarence Olafemi, has threatened to sue the NHRC for including his name in the list of people indicted for electoral malpractices during the 2007 and 2011 general elections.NHRC indicts Oserheimen Osunbor and Clarence Olafemi

Mr Olafemi told Channels Television he had been cleared by the Appeal Court and wondered why the issue was being brought up at this time.

“We have written them (NHRC) before when that issue was being paraded by the same body, some five or six years ago.

“The Court of Appeal has ruled that I have not committed any electoral offence. Are they better than the Court of Appeal?” the former acting governor questioned.

The reactions are coming after the former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, aslo said that the NHRC was wrong to have accused him of being involved in electoral malpractice during the 2007/2011 general elections.

He said that the commission did not properly study the judgment of the Appeal Court in Benin, which removed him, adding that the judgment later proved to have been wrongly given against him.

The NHRC report on ending electoral impunity had indicted 118 persons of committing various forms of malpractices and violence during the 2007/2011 general elections in Nigeria.

Amongst those indicted by the report were Dr. Uduaghan, former Governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, a former acting Governor of Kogi State, Clarence Olafemi and a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu among others.

2007/2011 Elections: NHRC Indicts Osunbor, Iwu, Uduaghan Of Malpractice

NHRCThe National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report on ending electoral impunity has indicted 118 of committing various offences.

The indicted persons are said to have committed various forms of malpractices and violence during the 2007/2011 general elections in Nigeria.

Amongst those indicted by the report are the former governor of Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan, former governor of Edo State, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, a former Acting Governor of Kogi State, Clarence Olafemi and a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu and Senator Ayo Arise.

Others are the Independent National Electoral Commission and its officials in Anambra, Ebonyi, Delta, Kastina, Kogi and Rivers States, the Appeal Court, Election Petition Tribunals and political parties such as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Nigerian People Party (ANPP).

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Prof. Ben Angwe said those indicted will be further investigated and charged to the appropriate courts of the land.

The report noted that violence has become part and parcel of elections in Nigeria, noting that cases of ballot box snatching, kidnapping and even murder have been reported during various elections conducted in Nigeria.

Prof. Angwe further noted that it will no longer be business as usual as anyone found wanting will be charged to the appropriate court.

Speaking on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a National Commissioner in the Organization, Mr Adedeji Shoyebi, said violence has contributed to the recent inconclusiveness of elections across the country and advocated for an electoral offences court as a solution to the menace.

The Chairman of the Technical Working Committee, which carried out the review of the elections, Prof. Nsongura Udombana, gave a breakdown of those indicted by the various electoral tribunal across the country.

Electoral Institute To Develop Election Violence Mitigation Tool

electionThe Electoral Institute is planning to develop an election violence mitigation tool to aid the prevention of electoral violence across the country, instead of intervening at the points of violence.

The Director General of the Institute, Professor Abubakar Momoh, said that militarization, which is usually government’s response to election violence, is not a solution but rather development of mitigation strategies and standard instruments that will predict risk factors and triggers and nip violence in the bud.

The Acting Executive Director of the Cleen Foundation, Benson Olugbuo, also recommended two to three years early preparation for elections, saying it is a key tool to mitigation against electoral violence.

From Kogi State, to Bayelsa State and then to Rivers, there have been series of election violence that have resulted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declaring elections in those states inconclusive.

There have also been losses of lives and property resulting from these cases of violence and a constant deployment of the Police and the military to the trouble spots.

Another challenge to stopping electoral violence is the failure to try and sentence perpetrators and instigators of electoral violence in a law court.

This has been blamed for the increasing spate of cases of violence which heightens with every election as there is as yet, no form of deterrence for sponsors and perpetrators.

NHRC Reads Riot Act To Electoral Offenders

NHRCThe National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has read the riot act to perpetrators of electoral violence and all persons engaged in the use of hate speeches.

This comes as part of efforts to stem the tide of electoral violence and the promotion of hate speeches in Nigeria.

The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Professor Bem Angwe, gave the warning on Thursday while inaugurating a special investigation panel on hate speeches and electoral violence in Abuja.

Professor Angwe said that the commission was taking steps to bring the full weight of the law on persons who engage in acts capable of breaching the peace of the nation.

He added that the commission was compiling names of ad-hoc and permanent staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who exhibited acts that caused violence in the 2015 general elections.

The Chairperson of the investigation panel, Oti Ovrawah, appealed to Nigerians to cooperate with the panel in ensuring an end to electoral violence in the country.

Acting IGP Vows To Prosecute Electoral Offenders

IGPThe Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase has vowed to prosecute electoral offenders, to curb the spate of violence during elections in the country.

Mr Arase, who formally took over the mantle from the sacked Inspector General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, at a handover ceremony in Abuja, vowed that it would not be business as usual as all senior officers would be held accountable for their actions.

The acting IGP announced that a Strategic Police Vision Document and Policing Protocol would be developed to aid intelligence, community partnership and address high level crimes.

Meanwhile, the out-gone IGP Suleiman Abba, described the appointment of his successor as well-deserved, appealing to the Police hierarchy to equally give full support to the new leadership.

Mr Suleiman Abba was sacked by President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday.

Fayose lifts Curfew, Urges Peaceful Easter celebration

fayoseThe Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, as a result of the forthcoming Easter celebration, has ordered that the 7:30pm to 6am curfew imposed on the State, be lifted.

Governor Fayose, who urged Christians in the State to celebrate Easter peacefully, assuring them that all security agencies in the state have been placed on alert, to respond swiftly to any security breach during and after the Easter celebration.

According to a statement issued on Thursday by the Governor’s spokesman, Lere Olayinka, the governor described Easter as the most important event of the Christian faith.

The Will Of God

The statement read: “Easter, being the most important event of the Christian faith, must be celebrated in an atmosphere of freedom, peace and joy”.

“It is on this note that the 7:30pm to 6am curfew declared on Tuesday is lifted so as to allow Christians in the State the celebration of Easter without any hindrance.

“It is my expectation that in this season of renewal, we will all rejoice in Christ’s rising, draw strength and inspiration from His example, and remember that in the end, even death itself will be defeated,” the Governor said.

Governor Fayose had earlier stated that the curfew imposed on Tuesday, was to prevent violence that might arise after the declaration of the final results. He said that the election result was the will of God, which, he said, must not been seen as a victory or loss for any political party.

Ijaw\Northern Youth Sign Non-Violent Elections Pact

Youths from both Southern and Northern parts of Nigeria have come together to promote and support the non-violent election campaign ahead of the February General Eelections in the Country.

The youths comprising of Northern Ethnic Youth Groups Assembly and the Ijaw Youth Council, gathered in Keffi, Nasarawa State, to raise awareness among Nigerians about the need to shun violence before, during and after the elections.

The President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Udengs Eradiri and Convener of the Northern Ethnic Youth Groups Assembly, Usman Okai, both agreed on the need to avoid inflammatory comments following threat by some Niger Delta Leaders on the election outcome.

Other Youth Groups present at the peace meeting include the Ohaneze Youth Wing, Miyetti Allah, Eggon Youth Movement, Idoma and Hausa Elite Clubs, to endorse a common front of a peaceful post election era for Nigeria.

The presidential candidates of all the political parties in Nigeria had earlier in the year signed an accord to prevent electoral violence before, during and after the February 14 elections.

The signing ceremony took place in Abuja during a sensitisation workshop on non-violence elections.

It had in attendance President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Professor Oluremi Sonaiya of the KOWA Party amongst others.

The accord also stipulates that the institutions engaged in the conduct of the February elections must be seen to be impartial throughout the conduct of the elections.

In his speech at the opening of the workshop, President Jonathan identified what he called ‘threats and provocative statements’ by the leaders of political parties, as some of the reasons the followers take to violence during and after elections and warned that Nigerians,expecially the youth, should shun politics of bitterness.