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CSOs condemn abuse of re-run polls by politicians

The Nigeria Civil Society (NSC) Situation Room has condemned the abuse of the electoral process by politicians in Saturday’s supplementary elections.

Convener of the coalition of over 70 Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Clement Nwankwo, condemned the act in a statement in Abuja.

The supplementary elections were conducted in Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Sokoto states and five area councils of the FCT.

“The Situation Room is concerned about abuses of the electoral process and the violence that trails it.

This is in spite of the deployment of top-level police officials, including a deputy inspector general, three assistant inspectors general and commissioners of police.

“In the previous elections, the state commissioners of police took charge without senior level officers,” he said.

Nwankwo said that it was therefore, ironic and curious that the level of violence and political thuggery would occur with the quantum of senior police officers deployed for the re-run election.

He said that the Situation Room had always advocated against the redeployment of commissioners of police ahead of elections, adding that the group was also concerned about reports emanating from the Kano state supplementary elections that indicated serious violence.

According to him, there is an extensive use of thugs to perpetrate electoral malpractice, intimidation and violence.

Nwankwo said that the Situation Room condemned the actions of political parties in the build up to the supplementary elections and on election day.

He said that reports received, showed massive deployment of thugs and party agents to polling units.

In Gama ward, Nassarawa Local Government Area, he stated that a large number of thugs were seen intimidating voters, observers and even INEC officials around polling units, unchecked, despite the presence of security personnel.

He said there were also incidents of high deployment of unaccredited party agents to polling units who aided the disruption of the voting process.

The convener said reports also showed that there were high incidences of vote buying facilitated by thugs and party agents.

He said that the trend was seen particularly in Gama ward, Kano. Nwankwo also said that there were reported cases of attempted inducement of observers with cash.

He recommended that in the light of the widespread violence in the areas where INEC had conducted supplementary elections in Kano state, INEC should discountenance the supplementary elections and should make a declaration on the basis of the polls already concluded.

Nwankwo said that this was because the country would be in no mood to accept the conduct of another supplementary election on the back of a supplementary election.