By Angela Atabo
#TrackNigeria: YIAGA AFRICA, a Civil Society Organisation has expressed worry over possession of small and light arms by political thugs during Saturday’s supplementary election in some states.
Dr Hussaini Abdu, Chair, YIAGA AFRICA, Watching The Vote Working Group said this at a news conference on the outcome of the group’s observation during the supplementary election.
Abdu said that illegal possession of arms posed a threat to political stability and human rights.
He said that there is need to investigate the illegal possession of arms by political thugs and hold their sponsors accountable.
“YIAGA AFRICA condemns the deployment of thugs by the two major political parties in the election.
“In spite of huge deployment of security personnel for the election, political thugs visibly attacked voters and and disrupted election in some polling stations.
“The stations are in Kano and Benue and they did it without any resistance or reprimand from security agencies.
“This is worrisome and raises serious questions on the effectiveness of security deployment for the supplementary elections,” he said.
Abdu said that the group also observed voter suppression and intimidation of the media, and observers.
He said that there were reports of disruption of electoral process, this included destruction of election materials, clash between political party agents and political thugs.
He said that vote buying was also prevalent during the election and threat to secrecy of ballot was seen as voting was done with cubicles and party agents were checking votes cast.
Abdu called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to maintain it’s periodic briefing with election stakeholders and its online and offline media should be used.
He called on security agencies to perform their functions within constitutional limits while providing security for the process.
He also called on the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force to investigate reports of bribery and corruption against officers on election duty.
Mr Samson Itodo, Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA, said that the group undertook the watching of the vote project to provide Nigerian voters, candidates, political parties, others with information on the election.
Itodo said that the weakest link in Nigeria’s election is result collation, adding that, that is the reason for the group’s focus on it. (NAN)