Kogi, Bayelsa polls: YIAGA Africa expresses concern over small arms

YIAGA Africa, a civil society organisation, has called on security agencies to investigate the reported stockpiling of arms by some politicians ahead of Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.

Executive Director YIAGA Africa Samson Itodo in the organisation’s Second Pre-election Observation Report, also called for the need to investigate the reports on recruitment of thugs.

“With the emerging trends, the election campaigns are becoming more competitive and fiercely contested.

“The reports highlight possible threat to the peaceful conduct of the election with the observation of the presence of small arms and weapons in some local government areas.

“Observers identified a community as being used for the storage of ammunition and the recruitment of thugs.

“The ammunition were discovered to have been stored prior to the 2019 general elections.

“ Other reports of recruitment of political thugs were from some communities in Bayelsa,” he said.

Itodo said that the report also revealed that buying and selling of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) still existed as  political parties moved from house to house to get people.

Itodo said that observers  monitored and tracked voter inducement through the distribution of money or gift items such as vehicles by political parties to their supporters in both states.

The organisation called on security agencies to investigate and arrest people engaged in buying and selling of PVCs and any form of voter inducement to serve as a deterrent to others.

He also urged security agencies to engage in active engagement and communications with citizens on the principles regulating security deployment and its operations ahead of the elections.

Itodo said that the group also appealed to political party candidates and supporters to shy away from any form of physical or verbal attacks to ensure credible and peaceful elections.

He advised all political parties to  increase their activities of engaging voters with their policy plan while soliciting their support and votes.(NAN)

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