By Matthew Ogune, Abuja
The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room has called for the arrest and prosecution of political actors making inciting comments ahead of the September 2020 Governorship election in Edo State.
Co-Convener of the group, Esther Uzoma, made this call yesterday in Abuja at a press conference while expressing concern about the rhetorics and isolated incidents of violence in Edo State ahead of the election.
She stated: “Those statements by political actors in the eyes of the law are criminalised conducts because nobody is permitted to provoke or impose fear on the populace.
“So, we are calling on the security agencies to let them know that this persons are not above the law. If anybody makes such statement, they should be provoked to make arrest, let them make statements because they are criminalised conducts.
“The Nigerian Police must act now, they should desist from giving the impression of institutional bias. By now people should be under investigation. This is the position of the situation room,” she stated.
According to Nwankwo, the convener of the room, public statements by candidates and leaders of the two main political parties was heightening political tension in the state and stocking violence, advising all political actors and security services in Edo State to act on calls to end disruptive actions and violence in the state.
Regretting that issue based campaigns have been relegated to the background and citizens are not being offered any real electoral choices, he noted that actions by political actors indicate threat to the peaceful conduct of elections including squabbles over membership and leadership of the state house of assembly.
Nwankwo said that the situation room was also worried about campaigns being conducted in total disregard of COVID-19 pandemic protection protocols of campaign and voting and called on National Electoral Commission (INEC) to resolve to ensure strict adherence to it’s guidelines for the conduct of elections and clearly map out punitive measures for election stakeholders who flout the guidelines.
He further noted that the escalation of COVID-19 cases presents a threat to voter turnout and participation in the election.
Nwa Kwon called on political parties in Edo state to focus on issue based campaigns in the final lead to election day and observe INEC’s COVID-19 protocols in conduct of campaign rallies.
The convener urged security agents to be non-partisan and professional before, during, and after the election, and abide by INEC’S code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on election duty.
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