2023 polls: 109 deaths linked to political violence from January to March- CDD

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The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), has estimated that a total of 109 deaths linked to political violence have been recorded from the start of the year to 10th of March 2023.

The Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, while briefing newsmen on Friday in Abuja during the opening of the Election Analysis Centre (EAC) in Abuja, explained that according to the tracker, based on its mapping, CDD predicted that violence linked to the states elections could worsen due to the activities of armed groups and quasi-security outfits.

She cited an example such as Yan Sakai, the Civilian Joint Task Force, Neighbourhood Watch, Amotekun and Ebubeagu have been, and can be, armed and deployed by state governors and their allies to perpetrate electoral violence or suppress voter turnout, particular in areas of strong opposition support.

She said apart from these outfits, CDD noted the presence of the more conventional political thugs, paid to disrupt polls or intimidate political opponents, as a threat to these elections.

“The insecurity they create itself portends dangers for the ability to conduct credible elections, increases the likelihood of inconclusive results and, ultimately, the need for supplementary elections. Bauchi, Kano, Rivers, and Sokoto all faced this scenario in 2019, with a high risk of repeat in 2023.”

She listed ways violence could manifest to include voter intimidation, ballot box snatching and the destruction of election materials.

On the inclusion of PWDs in the gubernatorial poll, Inclusive Friends Association (IFA), urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make elections more inclusive for the People Living With Disabilities (PLWD).

The Executive Director, IFA, and Convener, Access Nigeria Campaign, Grace Jerry also called on all PWDs that are registered to vote and have their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCS) to go out en masse and vote for the candidates of their choice. Voting remains one of the major ways to influence policies that would shape their lives.

“PWDs should take safety precautions by leaving voting places when they begin to sense any danger to their lives. They should call designated security numbers when safely out of danger. Our message to the PWD community is to encourage you to vote, but to prioritize your safety .

“However, INEC needs to take deliberate steps in the forthcoming governorship and state assembly elections to ensure the effective deployment and usage of assistive materials as mandated by the electoral Act 2022,” She said.