Nigeria’s 2019 Election Recorded Death Increase by 500%, says Report
Number of election related death recorded across Nigeria in the six months between the start of the election campaign and the commencement of the general and supplementary elections, increased by about 500 percent, from 106 to 626 in 2015 and 2019 respectively.
The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room disclosed this in its final report on Nigeria’s 2019 election on Tuesday in Abuja Nigeria.
The electioneering campaigns began in October 2018 while the last of the elections were held in March.
The group said the number increased compared to the 106 killed in the 2015 general elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conducted the presidential and National Assembly elections on February 23, while governorship and state assembly elections were held on March 9.
Supplementary elections in five states were also held in March.
The organisation in its report on the elections listed the numbers of deaths per the six geopolitical zones in the country.
”Situation Room is deeply worried about the spike in politically motivated killings in the period leading up to the elections,
”At least, 626 people were said to have been killed between the start of the campaign in October 2018 and the final election in March 2019, ” the coalition observer group said.
According to the report, the North-west region recorded the highest number of deaths with 172 killed during the elections, while the North-east followed with 146 fatalities.
Also, the report revealed that the South-south and North-central had 120 and 111 fatalities respectively.
Sixty-three people were killed in the South-west, while 14 were killed in the South-east.
The organisation also revealed that Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Rivers, and Zamfara led with the highest casualties during the elections.
Election violence were reported in states like Benue, Ebonyi, Imo, Lagos, Kano, Rivers and Akwa Ibom.
Reports say Rivers State has been notorious for electoral violence since 2011. There were also reported attacks on National Youth Corps Service members in Etche local government. the casualty included soldiers who engaged in shootouts with armed political thugs.
According to a report by the Rivers Commission of Inquiry, a monthly average of 19 killings occurred in the state in election violence between November 2014 and April 2015.
The commission instituted by Chibuike Amaechi, the former Rivers State governor, noted that out of the 97 allegations of killings it received, 94 of them occurred between November 15, 2014, and April 11, 2015.
Apart from killings that occurred during the 2019 polls, there were also many incidents of ballot box snatching, assaults, abductions, and harassment.
Also, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in its 2019 election report said about 150 people were killed in election-related violence in different parts of the country.
”The elections became increasingly marred by violence and intimidation. This harmed the integrity of the electoral process and may deter future participation.
”Around 150 people died in election-related violence during the campaign period and over the election days. INEC reported attacks on its offices, and also fatalities, abductions and sexual assault against its officials.” the EU report stated.
The report said besides the number of killings, the elections at both the federal and state levels witnessed problems such as thuggery, rigging and vote-buying. While the federal elections witnessed a voter turnout of 35.6 per cent, the state-level elections saw an even lower turnout.
“The inability of the political parties to play by the books contributed in no small way to heating up the polity during the elections,” it said.
The organisation, however, suggested that INEC and security agencies should ensure accountability for acts inimical to the integrity and credibility of the polls especially individuals complicit in the burning of INEC offices, election materials, snatching of ballot boxes and other electoral offences.