Posted by News Express | 22 March 2016 | 2,353 times
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has condemned the violence recorded in some parts of Rivers State during the rerun legislative elections held on Saturday.
The youth group called for the investigation and prosecution of those behind the electoral violence and regretted that most of the victims were youths in their prime.
According to a statement issued by IYC Spokesman, Mr Eric Omare in Yenagoa on Monday, more than 15 persons were killed with the possibility of more killings likely to take place.
Omare said: “We strongly believe that the statements of major political players in the days leading to the elections heightened tension and contributed to the violence during the election.
“Political leaders in Rivers State did not display the high sense of responsibility that was expected of them.
“The IYC is worried about the way and manner elections are conducted in Nigeria in recent times especially, the Niger Delta region.
“Elections instead of being an opportunity for the electorate to express their preference for candidates of their choice has become a theatre of war in the region as recently experienced in Bayelsa and now in Rivers State.”
The IYC Spokesman noted that the trend was dangerous and capable of encouraging and contributing to another round of security challenge in the Niger Delta region.
He IYC blamed the disposition of security agencies, especially the military towards their job as being partly responsible for the violence now associated with elections in the Niger Delta region. He noted that security agencies were supposed to be neutral and provide security for the electorates and display loyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not to any political party.
Said Omare: “We are also worried by the inability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct hitch free elections in recent times.
“The shoddy preparations and lack of transparent conduct of the electoral body is a contributory factor to the violence that has been associated with elections.
“This is an obvious retrogression from the gains that were achieved in electoral reform under the previous administration of President Jonathan with Prof. Jega as INEC Chairman. I
“NEC should be transparent in its conducts to avoid suspicion which leads to violence in elections.”
IYC called on the National Assembly to carry out a thorough and open investigation of the role of the security agencies, political leaders and INEC in the violence associated with the Rivers rerun election.
The group urged military authorities to discipline military officers involved or contributed to the killings. It said that President Muhammadu Buhari as the leader of the country must take steps to arrest this retrogression as it portends danger ahead of the 2019 general elections.
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