As of mid-January 2023, there have been more than 134 attacks on the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) facilities and personnel across the country, says Idayat Hassan, Director, Centre for Democracy and Development.
She disclosed this while speaking about the wave of attacks on political rallies and actors ahead of the 2023 general elections on Channels Television’s political programme, 2023 Verdict, on Sunday night.
Hassan lamented that Political parties were not complying with peace accord agreements they signed with the National Peace Committee.
She said: “It is quite disturbing that this is actually happening at this point in time. The casualties are higher; the number of incidences is rising. Even when we often talk about attacks on INEC, we talk about over fifty-something attacks on their facilities, it goes beyond that.
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“So far, there have been more than 134 attacks on INEC facilities and personnel if you check on Armed Conflict Event Data which is the elite and number one in terms of monitoring violence.
“It is 134 as of January, like the first half of January. So, by now we don’t even know if this has actually increased. And when we take it only from the point of view of INEC, if this continues how can we have elections?”
There were reported attacks on the supporters of the Labour Party (LP) last week in Lagos State while gunshots were also heard at a campaign rally in Rivers State within the same week.
While frowning at the development, the Country Director of CDD said aside from law enforcement agencies, the law prohibited any other persons to bear arms during rallies.
“The rules are clear. If you are doing campaign, it is only the police or the security agents that are allowed to bear arms, no other person must bear arms.
“It is written, in fact, they have this regulation and guidelines for political parties and for the campaigns which INEC has even demystified and shared,” she added.
Hassan, a member of the National Peace Committee, called for punishment for those breaking the law and heating up the polity.
She lamented that the languages being used by political actors against one another on social media were heating up the election process.
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