A Lagos based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Change Monitor, has expressed deep sorrow about reported killings and destruction of property in Rivers State on account of struggle for power by the politicians.
Comrade Olatunde Fasanya, the Coordinator of the organisation stated this in a press release, made available to The Renaissance on Tuesday in Lagos.
“It is with deep sorrow that we continue to hear of deaths and destruction of lives and properties in Rivers State.
“We at the Change Monitor condemn vehemently this act and therefore call on the Rivers State Government and all stakeholders in the state legislature election to put their people first .
“We should reflect on the effect of the insurgency in Northern Nigeria and prevent the proliferation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the future which is not healthy for our democracy,” the statement read in part.
The organisation, therefore, called on the Federal Government to urgently wade into the River crisis before it escalate further.
“All security operatives should be used to halt this violence at once so as to have a peaceful election and not one that will ravage our nation forever.
“Electoral violence is a key factor in voter apathy and violence breeds no good.
“If democracy must thrive, electoral violence must be done away with so as not to create a clog in the wheel of progress and development of both individuals, communities and the entire country, the organisation stated.
It further stated that apart from the physical and psychological effects that election violence unleash on the people, there were political and financial implications as well.
It noted that the leaders that emerge from such elections that are laced with violence “are not likely to be legitimate or acceptable by all and this will makes mockery of our .
Change Monitor stated further that such scenario might breed leaders that will using force to govern.
“It also ridicules the country in the committee of nations as other nations will see us as a bunch of fraudsters and power mongers.
“The financial implication is the cost of election litigation and probably rerun election.
“We must not forget in a hurry that the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) recently announced that it needed N10 billion to conduct 80 rerun elections.
“The cost of conducting rerun elections is too expensive for our country to bear at this particular time as such money could have been channeled to more productive ventures.
“We therefore call on the National Assembly to evolve a legislation that will criminalise electoral violence and other forms of electoral malpractices,” the group stated.
It advised the people of Rivers State not to allow themselves be used as weapons of violence or war.
“The people of Rivers State should embrace peace in all their dealings and put God and this country above every other things,” It noted.