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#KogiDecides: Voters, INEC official, security agents receive N5000, N15,000, N50,000 bribes -YIAGA

Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement, YIAGA, Africa has said that the Saturday’s governorship and other by-elections in Kogi State was marred by widespread…

Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement, YIAGA, Africa has said that the Saturday’s governorship and other by-elections in Kogi State was marred by widespread violence and vote buying.

This is contained in the preliminary report of the organisation and jointly signed by Dr. Hussaini Abdu, Chair, ‘YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote, (WTV)  Kogi Observation Mission’ and Samson Itodo, Executive Director, YIAGA AFRICA .

They said that  YIAGA AFRICA Watching The Vote (WTV) deployed 500 polling unit observers to a total of 250 sampled polling units in each of the 21 Local Government Areas with 27 mobile observers roving the LGA.

“As at 12:00 noon, YIAGA AFRICA received and confirmed the following critical incident reports; 250 voters were paid as much as N5,000 in some cases in exchange for their votes. At Aluaja, Iyano Ward in Ibaji LGA, INEC officials were given N15,000 and Security agents N50,00 to compromise the process.

“WTV received reports of accredited observers not allowed to observe in PU 017, Ward 12 and PU 002, Adumudume ward of Dekina LGA; PU 009 ward 09 of Okene LGA, and PU 013 WARD 06 of Bassa LGA among others. This was however rectified in some cases and still pending in a few polling units.

“YIAGA AFRICA observes cases of voters by-passing the processes of accreditation. WTV observers reported card readers were not used for verifying or authenticating the PVCs and fingerprint of some voters, specifically 4 voters in PU 010 of Ward 01 (Ankpa Township Ward) in Ankpa LGA,” the report stated.

The organisation however commended the people of Kogi for their resilience, commitment and determination to cast their vote in this election even as observers report early turnout of voters at the polling units.

While commenting on the arrival of materials and commencement of votings across the state, the organisation said the Braille Ballot guides and persons with disabilities (PWD) poster (Poster EC 30E) were present in 50% and 88% of polling units respectively.

On intimidation and harassment recorded, it said unknown men and party agents of some identified political parties were attacking and intimidating voters in polling units of LGAs in Dekina (PU 017, Ward 12 and PU 001 Yashi), Lokoja (PU 001, Ward C), Ofu (PU 005, Ugwalawo ward), Ankpa (Ojokwu ward 3) and Igalamela/Odolu (PU 022, ward 08) LGA.

It said that WTV observers were beaten and their observation checklists destroyed and, then the process, degenerated to sporadic shooting in PU 027, Ayingba Etiaga, Dekina LGA.

“YIAGA AFRICA also received reports of intimidation of journalists and sister election observer groups like Inclusive Friends, Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room and Search for Common Ground in the full glare of security agencies who made no effort to forestall or reprimand the political thugs,” it said.

It therefore urged INEC to make public the list of polling units where elections are canceled and for security agencies to ensure adequate security is provided to enable voters and INEC complete the process of voting, results collation and declaration.

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