2019 polls: DSS, Army intimidated INEC officials, voters, observers — US

By AdvocateNews on 15/03/2020

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The United States of America has said it has evidence that operatives of the Department of State Services, Nigerian Army and other security agencies intimidated officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, voters and election observers during the 2019 polls.

This was contained in the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Nigeria released by the US Department of State on Wednesday.

According to the report, the Kano State governorship rerun election in 2019 and the 2018 gubernatorial poll in Osun State stand out as those in which voters were financially induced.

In the report, the US said some INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners were intimidated by the DSS, whose operatives also invited some for questioning.

The report said in part:

Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the independent electoral body responsible for overseeing elections by regulating the process and preventing electoral misconduct.

During the year INEC conducted the presidential election, National Assembly elections, State House Assembly elections, and local elections in all 36 states plus the FCT, as well as gubernatorial elections in 30 states.

There was evidence military and security services intimidated voters, electoral officials, and election observers.

In addition violence in several states contributed to lower voter participation and added to the sentiment the army is a tool of the ruling party in many parts of the country, particularly in the South.

For example, widespread violence and military involvement in electoral processes, including during the vote collation process, significantly scarred the governorship election in Rivers State.

Additionally several of INEC’s resident electoral commissioners (RECs) reported DSS operatives intimidated them when the RECs attempted to protect voting materials.

Some RECs reported security service personnel visited them multiple times prior to the elections.

Press reported certain RECs claimed the DSS was surveilling the RECs and that they had been brought to DSS offices for questioning.

There were reports that corruption including vote buying were historically high during the 2018-19 electoral season.

Examples of vote buying were apparent in the re-run of the Osun gubernatorial election in September 2018, and during the Kano gubernatorial election on March 9.

Posted 15/03/2020 09:16:21 AM

 

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