2019 Elections: South-East voters felt unsafe – NGO

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By Emmanuel Acha

Enugu – An Enugu-based non-governmental organisation, Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), on Monday said South-East electorate felt unsafe during the recent general elections in the country due to insecurity.

Consultant to the organisation, Mr Malachy Ochei, disclosed in Enugu at a news conference and presentation of its final report on “Nigerian Election Violence Report (NEVR) Project 2019 for South-East Zone.’’

Ochei said that inadequacy of security personnel deployed for the elections in the region led to political thugs having a field day during the exercises.

He said that in states like Abia, Imo and Ebonyi, about 70 per cent of voters felt unsafe, adding that such was not encouraging.

“The exercise recorded 80 per cent of election-related violence and threats. While about 10 per cent of them were attended to, others were not addressed.

“They were over 800 cases of various degrees of injuries and incidences of arson, especially in Ebonyi,” he said.

The consultant described the outbreak of violence in Ebonyi as “mind-boggling and brutish’’.

He said that while nine cases of confirmed deaths were recorded, no fewer than 91 persons were injured.

He said that pre-election violence in Ebonyi recorded the burning of 10 houses, eight campaign vehicles and 15 campaign motorcycles.

“Abia recorded 32 reported cases of election-related violence in Ugwunagbo, Obingwa, Umuahia North, Umuahia South, Aba North and Ukwa West local government areas.

“There were incidents of ballot box-snatching and stuffing and sporadic gun shots and attack on INEC ad hoc staff in many parts of the state.

“Our reports showed that security personnel arrived with election materials to their duty posts, but they were not armed and could not checkmate activities of thugs,” Ochei said.

He said that 18 deaths were recorded in the zone during the polls as against 13 deaths recorded in the 2015 general elections, adding that vote-buying was a major issue during the polls.

Earlier, Executive Director of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, said that the project which was implemented by the organisation was sponsored by International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

Ezeilo, who was represented by the Project Team Leader, Mrs Anuli Ezennaya, said that the project was aimed at enthroning a robust electoral process in the Nigeria. (NAN)

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