Civil society group and electoral observer group of the Bayelsa state governorship election, Kimpact Development Initiative, KDI, has called for the immediate persecution of electoral offenders following report of violence and vote buying across the state during the governorship election held on November 16.
The group made this call as a recommendation in a press release signed by the Executive Director, KDI, Bukola Idowu where it addressed the issue of violence in Bayelsa state election.
Monitoring the election in a situation room set up for The Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR) project, KDI In the release consented to receiving reports of violence and vote buying from 8 different Local Government Areas, LGAs
“On Saturday, 16th November, 2019, Kimpact NEVR Bayelsa Election Situation Room received reports from the 8 LGAs of Bayelsa State ranging from Violence (Death, Intimidation of Voters, Carting away and destruction of election materials most especially ballot papers, Disruption by Political Thugs and Kidnapping) to Potential Violence (Late Commencement, Vote Buying, and Security Conduct),” the release read.
Calling on the government to prosecute people involved with vote buying and electoral violence the release read:
“KDI asks for the swift prosecution of electoral offenders and recommends that the Federal Government consider setting up an Electoral Offence Commission or special electoral court to prosecute and punish electoral offenders as INEC presently is being overwhelmed with other aspects of election administration and management.
Further advising that moves should be made to savage logistic problems in subsequent elections the release read “Actions should be taken to mitigate logistical issues in elections as this played out in the 2019 General election and also in the 2019 Bayelsa Governorship elections.
“KDI encourages INEC to look into engaging Logistics Companies that can distribute sensitive voting materials and equipment to every part of the country professionally and promptly instead of the NURTW that has overtime being a tool even in the hands of the political class.
“Communication strategy between INEC and Security agencies should be strategic and security agencies should ensure that credible security assessment is done, so as to ensure in subsequent elections that considerations are given to places that are volatile or prone to violence.
“INEC should investigate the high reports of materials being carted away and destroyed in some wards and LGAs.
“There should be more voter education and sensitization for the citizens.”