2019: International Crisis Group identifies six high-risk states, urges greater effort to prevent violence

Posted by News Express | 26 December 2018 | 1,068 times

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•National Peace Committee Chairman, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.)

The Nigerian government, other stakeholders and the country’s international partners should redouble efforts to prevent violence around the 2019 elections particularly in six high-risk states, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has urged.

In a new report titled “Nigeria’s 2019 Elections: Six States to Watch”, published recently, the Brussels-based conflict research and peace advocacy organisation observes that Nigeria’s elections have had a history of violence, and that there are already indications of potential violence around the 2019 polls.

According to the report, risks of violence are being driven by the “win or die” attitude of many politicians and acrimony between the two major political parties, ahead of what could be a closely fought contest.

Other risks identified by the report include the widespread distrust of security agencies, opposition parties’ misgivings about the neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), prevalence of armed conflict and deadly criminal violence in parts of the country, and uncertainty over how either of the two main parties would respond in the event of losing, particularly by a narrow margin.

The report observes that while there are risks of violence in many states, “six states are displaying particularly troubling signs ahead of the vote”. It identifies the states as Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Kano, Plateau and Adamawa.

Urging for greater effort to avert violence, International Crisis Group calls on the federal government to speedily release all outstanding allocations to INEC and security agencies, to enable them prepare adequately for an election that will be logistically more challenging than previous polls.

It also urges political parties to honour the accord initiated by the Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee, which their leaders signed earlier this month, and which commits them to stop inflammatory rhetoric, campaign peacefully, pursue grievances lawfully and rein in supporters in the event of defeat.

Noting concerns already expressed about security agencies, ICG urges them to act professionally, ensure neutrality between all parties, and firm up contingency plans for preventing or responding to violence without resorting to excessive use of force.

Also noting the crucial role Nigeria’s international partners played in the success of the 2015 elections, Crisis Group urges similar engagement for 2019, with particular attention to high-risk states.



Source: News Express

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