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122 killed, 256 injured in 145 incidences of pre-election violence

The Election Monitor (EM) has said that its track of the violent incidences from 18th August 2018 till 14th February 2019 recorded 145 pre-election violence leading to 122 deaths and 256 injured.

The National Coordinator of the EM, Mr. Abiodun Ajijola, said on Friday in Abuja that the incidences tracked were all election-related ranging from clashes between political parties, deaths at rallies, politically-motivated murders, vandalisation of billboards, properties and vehicles, shootings among others.

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“During the reporting period, a total of 122 deaths, 256 people injured in 145 unique incidences were tracked.

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“These cut across almost every state of the federation with some regions clearly experiencing higher levels of pre-election violence than others.

“It is Election Monitor’s intention that this thoroughly and carefully researched information would strengthen the knowledge of the diverse stakeholders to ensure a safer Election Day and post-election period,” Ajijola said.

He said that it is critical that the security forces reinforce and flush out armed bandits and operations of terrorists within Nigerian borders as much as possible to ensure that voters are not disenfranchised in locations experiencing these challenges.

“Security personnel and indeed all security chiefs must remember that they must remain neutral and ensure strict allegiance to Nigeria and not any personal, private or partisan interest.

“Citizens must be reminded that there is nothing like a boycott in any part of the country and urgent steps has to be taken to ensure that calls for voters to boycott the elections currently being disseminated by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are effectively neutralized.

“Election Monitor commends President Muhammadu Buhari for reassuring international observers in the country of their security during his presidential address on the evening of 14th February 2019.

“Election Monitor however urges international observers to ensure they restrict their activities to observation as provided for by the global standards for election observation and avoid interfering in the affairs of the country which would likely adversely affect the polity,” he added.

While security agents should not be caught off guard, he said any violence will most likely be targeted at preventing the final release of the election results so as to prevent the elections from concluding peacefully.

He also urged INEC to speed up collation as much as possible and security agencies have to be on full alert until final results are declared.

He said, “Security agencies should flood the airwaves and social media with toll lines for contacting them today and throughout Election Day.

“Political parties who choose to develop their own internal collations systems should not announce their findings until after INEC has declared the entire results.”

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