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EU scores supplementary polls low on security, others


[FILE] From left: Press Officer, European Union Election Observation Mission Nigeria 2019 (EUEOM), Sarah Fradgley; Chief Observer, EUEOM, Maria Arena and the Deputy Chief Observer, EUEOM, Hannah Roberts, during the a news conference on Governorship and House of Assembly Elections in Abuja.Jimah Suleman/ICE/NAN

• Kano PDP rejects Ganduje’s return, claims ‘victory’
• HURIWA seeks national policy on violence control

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has declared that the March 23 supplementary elections in Kano, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Sokoto states were marred by alleged insecurity, violence, intimidation and ineffectiveness of security agencies.The group said 20 of its observers monitored the exercise in the affected states from polling through counting and collation of results.

In its report yesterday in Abuja, the EU observers said there were “cases of extensive electoral security problems in some areas, with groups of men with weapons intimidating and obstructing the process while security agencies were ineffective at protecting citizens’ right to vote.”

In particular, the document, released by the Press Officer, Sarah Fradgley, stated that parts of Kano were largely “inaccessible to EU observers as citizen observers and journalists were obstructed amid security failures.”The European monitors also pointed out “increased interference by party agents and cases of vote-buying”, insisting that the leaderships did not take steps to rein in their supporters.

Given the high stakes and the low turn-out of the electorate, the report noted that the polls were “systemically vulnerable to parties, strategically pressurising voters and disrupting the process.”The EU team, however, submitted that there were improved logistical arrangements and procedures mostly followed, but quickly added that there were problems with secrecy of the ballot as it was so open in nearly one-third of polling units observed.

It regretted that throughout the day, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) never commented on the alleged electoral disturbances.In a related development, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said it was allegedly robbed of victory in Kano.

It therefore called the on the Federal Government to prevail on the electoral umpire to declare its governorship candidate, Abba Kabiru Yusuf, as the ‘rightful winner’ of the election.The call comes as Governor-elect Abdullahi Umar Ganduje waved the olive branch to his opponents for the development of the state.

In a statement, the party’s spokesperson, Sanusi Bature Dawakin-Tofa, warned that Ganduje’s return was a recipe for political unrest in Kano.Besides, a non-governmental organisation, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has tasked religious leaders and government on a holistic national policy on violent kidnappings and crime control.

It charged President Muhammadu Buhari to table the matter before a high-level consultative parley of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), stating that the menace was harming industrialisation in the sub-region and discouraging direct foreign investors from bringing their businesses into the area on account of the violent acts.

In a statement in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was writing Amnesty International in London and the British parliament in Westminster next week for action.

The body said it would also petition the Primate of Anglican Church worldwide in the United Kingdom and Pope Francis in Rome to seek global leaders’ intervention “because the crimes of kidnappings have become of the greatest causes of death of religious leaders in Nigeria and the sub-region.”


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