Posted by News Express | 27 January 2015 | 2,931 times
A Non-Governmental Organisation, the I-Nigerian Initiative, has urged the National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that it does not disenfranchise Nigerians currently living inside Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps during the next month’s general elections.
National Coordinator of the group, Ada Stella Apiafi, gave the advice today during an interaction with correspondents in Abuja. She said the result of various visits by members of the group to IDP camps in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and parts of the North-East showed that a great number of the inhabitants were politically active and already registered to vote before crisis displaced them.
According to her, the camps are particularly tranquil with inhabitants electing their own officials who are seeing to the smooth running of the camps.
Apiafi also implored relevant authorities to ensure that the reports submitted by the Initiative about the findings in the camps are looked into and followed in order to ensure that lives of the IDPs are made as conducive as possible and that their rights and privileges are not trampled upon.
Concerning the February general elections proper, the National Coordinator warned both politicians and sympathisers of political parties to desist from utterances that could cause disaffection within the polity.
In addition, Apiafi lamented the violence already introduced into politicking like burning vehicles of opponents, stoning candidates of other parties, shooting opponents and bombing party secretariats and venue of rallies.
“We must remember that whoever wins the election is a Nigerian and the country must remain one, indivisible entity whichever way it goes. The country belongs to all of us and so, we must uphold the national interest and ensure national peace before, during and after the elections,” she emphasised.
She said Initiative’s contribution to national re-awakening involves doing a lot of advocacy work in the area of security, collaborating with security and response agencies, as well as some related bodies including The International Emergency Management Society, Nigeria/West African chapter (TIEMS), Journalists Against Disaster Initiative (JADI), among others.
“Last year alone we organised and moderated a series of interactive sessions between the media and Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies; and ran various radio jingles, and bulk messages on peace, security, and being our brothers’ keeper,” Apiafi said.
She disclosed that, in trying to bring back the pride of being Nigerian, the group has established the I-Nigerian School Club, which inculcates the spirit of nationalism and patriotism in Nigerian youths and this has been approved by the FCT Education Authority and is presently operational in some schools.
“Our activities this year will consolidate on the work, which we have begun, and will include an upcoming I-Nigerian Conference; and the I-Nigerian Youth Project, which shall include a Creativity and Essay project. We shall be elaborating more on these programmes as we progress, and count on the great support of you our media friends as always,” she said.
Apiafi then advised the media and Nigerians generally to continue to support the military in its efforts to wipe out terrorists in the country.
“We must,” she said, “appreciate the good job that the military is doing in fighting a tough battle in a tough terrain. The media should report the war against terror in such a way that will not discourage troops both on the front and in the barracks.”
•Photo shows INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega.
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