As the 2019 elections in the country draw nearer, a group has listed some states with high potential of experiencing violence in the election period.
The Joint Action Civil Society Coalition mentioned include Yobe, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa, Borno, Plateau, Kaduna and Kano.
Other states listed are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Oyo, Osun, Bauch Zamfara and Ondo states.
“The resulting guarantees of impunity afforded to these merchants of violence fuels a spiral in deadly violence, which, from all indications, will impact the 2019 general elections except immediate action is taken to stem this tide.”
The group also blamed the government for failing to stop killings across the country maintain that the persistent violence could affect the outcome of the 2019 elections.
It expressed that since it begins the #StopTheKillings monitoring project in May 2018, it has continued to record killing in the country every week.
“Indicative of the fact that not only have the killings continued to rise almost unabated, our security institutions have failed time and again to ensure that their perpetrators are identified, dutifully apprehended and brought to justice.
The Joint Action Civil Society reiterated the ineffectiveness of the Nigerian government and the security forces in checkmating these swats of cyclical violence has emboldened the actors, and continues to provide a leeway for the culture of impunity to thrive.
It called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of perpetrators and sponsors of violence in Nigeria if the country is to have peaceful elections.
According to the group, “the problem with Nigeria’s elections have historically been with the collation and counting, not the voting the coalition insist that INEC, security agencies, the candidates, their parties and Nigeria’s citizens and partners must put this right.”
Quoting figures from the Nigeria Watch, Join Action Civil Society Coalition noted that “between June 2006 and May 2014, there were about 915 cases of election violence resulting in about 3934 deaths: the North Central recorded about 1463 deaths; 911 deaths in the North-West; 644 deaths in the South-South, and; 319 and 386 deaths in the North-East and South-West respectively.”
The group proposed that for 2019 elections to be peaceful, all stakeholders must exercise their constitutional duties without interference.
It urged that the Independent National Electoral Commission must truly be independent while the security agencies provide a safe environment as well as act impartial.
“We reiterate the importance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as it fulfils its constitutional role. INEC must be allowed to operate free from external pressure or intimidation.
“It is crucial that security agencies act, and are seen to act, in an impartial manner by maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and allegiance to the Nigerian State and not political parties.
“We strongly support press freedom and the vital role an independent media plays in ensuring informed public debates. We also stress the importance of balanced, neutral and non-defamatory coverage.”
The group condemned the arrest of Mr. Deji Adeyanju, demanding that harassment of some civil society actors who have sought to be vocal about the need for a peaceful and credible election should be stopped.