Ahead of next week’s general elections, some civil society organizations under the aegis of Coalition Against Electoral Violence and Save Bayelsa Group, Wednesday, called on appropriate authorities in the country to prosecute those involved in electoral violence in the last general elections.
The groups specifically called for the prosecution of politicians accused of perpetrating violence in the 2015/2016 election in Bayelsa State.
They also unveiled a report on Election Violence in the 2015/2016 Bayelsa Governorship Election produced after assessment of the violence which trailed the election, charging appropriate authorities to prosecute those involved.
Addressing a journalist in Lagos on Wednesday, the Convener of the coalition, Comrade Olufemi Lawson and the Secretary, Atani Isaac raised alarm over what he called stockpiling of arms ahead of the elections.
They noted that already there is tension across the country even especially the Niger Delta states, saying only the prosecution of 2015 offenders would stop people from committing similar offences in the 2019 elections.
A member of the coalition, Ologun Ayodeji who read the text of the conference said the 2015 election in Bayelsa witnessed an unimaginable height of the violence, unleashed on the innocent people of the State, leading to the death of many, with unquantifiable properties destroyed.
He said the report presented captured audio and visual recordings and testimonies of the victims of the violence that marred the conduct of the election in Southern Ijaw local government and some other parts of the State during the election.
“We witnessed a situation where harmless citizens were molested, attacked and harassed with a lot of complicity on the part of those, who ordinarily are supposed to protect them.
They decried the fact that in spite of the detailed report of 2015/2016 electoral violence submitted to the Bayelsa State, FG and International Agencies, nothing has been done to arrest and prosecute offenders.
He said, “As this crucial election gets closer, we have found it extremely imperative to inform Nigerians and the international community, about the likelihood of violence in some parts of the country, if the necessary checks are not undertaken by the Federal government and various authorities across our land.”
“This clarion call becomes inevitable at this point, as we have come to the realization, that elections should no longer be seen as wars and that whosoever engages in the destruction of properties and lives of our people, during the election period, is made to bear the consequences of his or her actions.”
The convener said the report cuts across all political parties, saying no politician is exempted, adding there is the need to pay compensation to the victims.
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