From Rivers to Kaduna, Nigerians who have witnessed politically motivated violent attacks are eager to see the end of the important polls in Nigeria’s history. The attacks, which have caused fear among residents of the affected places in the country, are highlighted in this report gathered from our correspondents.
APC chairman’s residence raided in January
Jonathan’s convoy attacked in Katsina, Bauchi, TarabaSome unidentified political thugs attacked the convoy of President Goodluck Jonathan in Katsina State during the continuation of his re-election campaign on Tuesday, January 20. Similar attack took place in Bauchi on January 22, as youths pelted the President’s convoy and campaign podium with sachet water and stones. The Governor of Bauchi accused some aggrieved PDP chieftains of masterminding the attacks which were also condemned by the leading opposition party, the APC and its presidential candidate, retired major general Muhammadu Buhari.Also on Thursday January 29, Jonathan’s convoy was again stoned by some aggrieved youths in Jalingo, Taraba State.The windscreens and windows of some of the vehicles on the convoy were said to have been destroyed before security operatives used tear gas and horsewhips to disperse the youths.Jonathan’s campaign buses touched in JosThe campaign officials and supporters of President Jonathan were on a ride in two of his campaign buses in the Plateau State capital, Jos, on January 10 when youths rounded the buses up and destroyed them. The busses, each a 15-seater beauty adorned in the colours of PDP and the president’s pictures, were set ablaze in Bauchi Road and Mango Street, both within the metropolitan Jos North Local Government Area, where they were stopped.
APC secretariats, rally bombed in RiversSuspected thugs in the early of Saturday January 24, invaded the venue of the APC governorship rally in Okrika in River State, bombing the podium that was provided in preparation for the campaign rally of the party’s candidate, Mr Dakuku Peterside. Peterside was billed to flag off his campaign in Okrika, the home town of Dame Patience Jonathan. The opposition PDP had held their governorship rally at the same venue which was attended by the First Lady, two days earlier.The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Dan Bature confirmed the incident, saying the rally arena was attacked with an explosive device suspected to be dynamite by unidentified assailants. He said the podium and public address system were damaged. He also confirmed that no life was lost.On Sunday, January 11, unknown arsonists also bombed the secretariat of the APC in Abam Ama, Okrika Local government area of Rivers State.In the same vein, on January 16, another APC secretariat was bombed at Ngo community in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers state.Some unknown persons on January 15 set ablaze the campaign office of the Zamfara Central Senatorial candidate of PDP, Mr Ibrahim Shehu. Three persons were injured while three motorcycles were burnt in the incident, the News Agency of Nigeria report.A PDP member, Muhammad Ibrahim, said some unidentified youths raided the office, beat up the security guards and set the place ablaze.In Gombe State, supporters of the APC and the PDP also clashed. Few weeks ago, the APC gubernatorial candidate, Alhaji Muhammed Inuwa was said to have been attacked by thugs.
Deployment of troops around residences of APC leadersAfter the elections were postponed, the leaders of the opposition party, the APC, complained against the deployment of troops around their residences. The troops were deployed around the residences of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State for yet-to-be disclosed reasons.The decision, which could trigger off violence, was confirmed by the Director of Media and Publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation (APCPCO) Mal. Garba Shehu, whose residence was also visited by police men.
Recent reports on electoral violenceA report from TheCable last Friday said 55 persons had been killed in political violence across 22 states of the federation ahead of the 2015 general elections, raising fears that there might be underreporting of the casualty figures, with the killings taking place in all of Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. Lagos, Kaduna and Rivers are rated as the most violence-prone in this election season, according to projections in the report by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expected to be released yesterday (Saturday). In the report, titled A Pre-Election Report and Advisory on Violence in Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections, the human rights commission expressed concern over the “bellicose rhetoric, a rise in hate speech, and a worrisome footprint of election-related violence”. NHRC reminded the government and political leaders of their responsibilities to prevent election violence as they could be brought to trial under international laws. It also reminded INEC, security agencies, the media and the clergy on their responsibilities.In its January 2015 Security Threat Assessment Towards 2015 Elections, the CLEEN Foundation identified six major threats to security within the next few days to the elections, including dangerous and hate speeches by politicians, youths and at the lower levels of the states; tardiness of INEC in the distribution of PVCs and the conduct of elections; intimation and mudslinging; poor management of election - logistics, failure of card readers, real or passive vote rigging; crisis of expectation or frustration occasioned by failure to win an election; and perceived partisanship of security agencies.The CLEEN Foundation in collaboration with the NOI Polls and with funding support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) conducted the 2015 Election Viability Survey. All political parties and candidates, the survey states, should be encouraged to focus on issue based politics around the election and avoid hate or inciting speech, while there should be effective monitoring to ensure that parties and candidates abide by the Abuja Accord.In its key recommendations and conclusions from the survey, politicians were expected to be used as channels to promote violence free elections and take responsibility of their actions and the actions of their supporters.
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