CSOs decry rising violence, deaths

• Say There Should Be No Voting Without Proper Card Reader Authentication
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room noted with concern the rising incidences of violence and reported deaths in some states. It, therefore,Advocated no voting without proper card reader authentication.

It said reports from across the country indicated worrying amounts of challenges that required attention of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies.Speaking, yesterday, in Abuja at a press briefing, head of the situation room, Clement Nwankwo disclosed that the body received reports of about 16 deaths across eight states.

Nwankwo explained that Borno and Bayelsa recorded two deaths each. Rivers recorded six deaths, while Yobe and Kogi also recorded two each. Ebonyi recorded two, while Lagos and Zamfara recorded one death each.

In Lagos State, Nwankwo said there were reports of disruption of voting by suspected political thugs, who shot into the air in some places and set ballot boxes and paper on fire in others, adding that in Okota, Isolo and Oshodi suburbs of Lagos, there were reports of violence, some caused by non-arrival of INEC officials and materials.

He said: “The Situation Room notes with disappointment the impact of INEC’s logistical lapses on the elections. Several parts of the country reported late opening of polls. According to YIAGA Africa, South East and South South recorded the lowest number of early poll openings. About 27 percent of polling units had opened as at 10 am in the South East.

“In the South South, it was only 21 percent. The average across other parts of the country was about 45 percent as at 10 am. The late arrival of materials and ad-hoc staff account for much of the delay in polls opening across the country.

In some places, voting started around 11 am. The delay in commencement of vote will certainly affect the collation process, which would likely extend well into the night, with attendant security risks and further logistics concerns.

“Situation Room received reports of several instances of smart card reader failure, which necessitated INEC officials resorting to manual accreditation.

“This was reported in Binji Local Government Area of Sokoto State and Owerri North LGA in Imo State. States where card reader challenge was prevalent included Lagos, Ogun, Abia, Nasarawa, Kebbi, FCT and Kaduna. “Situation Room also received isolated reports of security personnel acting in an overreaching manner in some states, particularly Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Kogi. “The Situation Room received reports of incidents of vote buying across Lagos, Niger, Edo, Kwara, Kano and Katsina States.

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