The Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI) has said that 24 persons were killed in 238 violence cases across 14 states in this year’s general elections.
The KDI Executive Director, Mr. Bukola Idowu, said this on Friday in Abuja at the public presentation of the 36-page 2023 Nigeria Elections Violence Report (NEVR) organized by KDI with support from National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and International Republican Institute (IRI).
He said that there were 98 violence cases during the February 25th, 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections; and 140 electoral violence cases during the March 18th, 2023 governorship and state house of assembly elections, to make a total of 238 violence cases across during the elections.
The report which documented the organisation’s security interventions and assessments of 2023 general election, also said that 701 victims were attacked during the presidential and National Assembly elections in the 98 incidences; while 251 others were victims of the 140 attacks recorded in the following month’s governorship and state house of assembly elections.
According to him, “We recommend that the security agencies need to ensure that their deployment during elections are predicate on viable early warning systems, this has proven to be one of the potent ways to mitigate electoral violence based on the findings that shows that the higher the presence of security forces in a community the lower the number of electoral violence recorded.
“The government must give zero tolerance to illegal proliferation of arms before, during and after the elections as recruitment of thugs and arming of thugs played huge contributing role in electoral violence recorded in the sample states.
“The CSOs and the media need to pay close attention and hugely condemn the subtle abuse of power by incumbent government who places restriction on political groups from using public venues for their campaigns. It is increasingly becoming a major causative factor of electoral violence.”
He added that INEC, the Police and Federal Ministry of Justice must ensure the prosecution of electoral offenders as this will serve as deterrence to other electoral offenders and that this also underscores the urgent need for the Electoral Offenses Commission.
“The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) need to rise up to the occasion to prosecute offenders involved in vote buying and selling as this will serve as deterrent for others.
“It is important that CSOs continue to educate the citizen and support the election security management with data and early warning signals that could help the security agencies,” he said.
The IRI Resident Programme Director, Santiago Stocker, said that election violence in the lead up to and during the 2023 elections was worse than in 2019, as many anticipated, as the number of incidents and the number of states affected was far higher than in 2019.
“And the dynamics were more sinister, with 30 reported assassinations or attempted assassinations of candidates or party officials, and more than two dozen attacks on INEC facilities.
“Much of the violence in the lead up to elections was strategic, intended to cripple the ability of opposing parties to campaign in certain states and to disenfranchise voters through the destruction of voting materials as well as through fear and intimidation,” he said.
Stocker said governors and officials of major parties who were complicit in such activity largely escaped unscathed as national peace pledges failed to halt the sharp upward trend in election violence.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner, Prof. Kunle Ajayi, said the commission would act decisively in the prosecution of electoral offenders for the 2023 elections.
He said that INEC officials, who are either suspended or have other actions taken against them showed the determination of the commission to ensure electoral malpractices perpetrators are accordingly dealt with according to the laws of the land.