Staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) confirm ballot papers for house of representatives during the electoral preparation at a local office of INEC in Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria, on February 22, 2019, a day before postponed voting day.Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP
Agence France-Presse

Nigeria is said to have lost no fewer than 25 lives during last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections.

This was part of the report was made public by Foreign and Domestic Observers, who monitored the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections, who briefed newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Thursday.

At the joint press conference by the Director General, Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, the Publicity Secretary, Pan African Women Project, Republic of South Africa, Mrs Mphoentle Keitseng, and Prince Stafford J Bisong of International Leadership Initiative, the observers expressed disappointment that the number was more than the 12 who died in the all the elections of 2015.

“This we consider as saddening and alarming in a context supposedly civil and democratic. It seems to us that Nigeria is transiting backwards to the dark ages of a near anarchy situation,” Keitseng said.

The observers, who described the election as a rape on democracy tenets by desperate power mongers, said they were totally unanimous that the election was dramatic and marred in some areas due to late arrival of election materials, ballot bos snatching, absence of materials, insufficient security personnel at polling units.

They decried that the near or complete absence of armed law enforcement agents few poles from the polling units gave room for thugs and hoodlums to snatch ballot boxes, intimidate and molest electorates and unleash mayhem on law abiding citizens as policemen at polling units were often overwhelmed by large number of thugs.

“The role of the military in election and consequent rule of engagement in elections were clearly and consistently violated.

“We observed the military in states like Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Imo, Cross River, etc, order electorates, observers and some party agents out of collation centres for the sole aim of falsification of results in favour of a preferred candidate.

“In some instances in Akwa Ibom State, Rivers, Imo, Cross River, the law enforcement agent were observed fire sporadically into the air and snatching ballot boxes away themselves.

“Again, in the full glare of the Military and the IGP Squad of the Nigerian Police, hoodlums loyal to Senator Godswill Akpabio assaulted foreign and domestic observers in Ukana, Essien Udim LGA of Akwa Ibom State, seizing and destroying their Tabs, phones and other personal effects.

“The Smart Card Reader was not used in several polling units across the country. This was as a result of threat to life by thugs and hoodlums engaged by some desperate politicians.

“Sadly, most of the results which emanated from a process in clear violation of the provision of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as Amended) were collated, declared and a winner emerged,” the stated

They, however, lauded the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the significant improvement in logistics and the overall conduct of the 2019 general elections.

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