The National Coordinator of the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Sheriff Mulade, speaking in the organisation’s office in Abuja on the security situation in Ekiti State ahead of the governorship election coming up on Saturday has stated that the security challenges could negatively affect the polls.
Mulade said: “The fear again is that these security challenges might negatively affect the July 14 Ekiti governorship election and 2019 general elections.
“There has been a bombardment of speeches that are not healthy from political actors across party lines in Ekiti state either accusing one another or the Election Management Board that is INEC of irregularities or attempts to rig the elections.
“These unguarded speeches are capable of triggering actions that will cause a serious breach to not only security of lives and property in Ekiti state but National security”.
The group further identified that the deployment of 30,000 police officers to Ekiti State is totally uncalled for, as this would breed fear in the hearts of the people consequently impede their participation in the forthcoming elections.
Emphasizing that these police officers should be sent to the states where their presence is indeed needed most especially the north, where they are frequently facing crisis.
In his words “We want to commend the Nigeria Security agents for the massive deployment of security personnel to Ekiti.
“However, more worrisome about the huge deployment of security agents to Ekiti state is the perception in some quarters that the security agents may serve negative ends.
“One may ask, why should the Nigeria Police deploy as much as 30,000 police officers and men just for a governorship election? You can also imagine the number of soldiers, Civil Defence, DSS and other Para military outfits deployed. “Why not Zamfara, Plateau and Benue in the North Central where massive and cruel killings are taking place. The deployment is it to intimidate the people and deprive them of their rights?
“By this act, the people of Ekiti state are tactically disenfranchised because the presence of these number of security agents breeds an atmosphere of fear and intimidation cajoling the people to stay away from polling units and invariably denied from casting their vote.”
Mulade in advocating for violence free election, advice the people of Ekiti state to come out in mass to carry out their civil responsibility without fear and intimidation over the presence of these security agencies.
In conclusion, Mulade commended the international communities and donors for showing great concern in promoting peace and security in Nigeria through trainings and sponsorship of Civil Society Organizations in elections and security matters.
By Shina Badmus, Favour Ogegbene & Magdalene Agbadamashi