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Bayelsa poll: KDI calls for special court on election offences

By Maryam Olaniyi, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo

The Coordinator of Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR) and Executive Director of Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), Mr Bukola Idowu has condemned the killing of innocent Nigerians in the last Saturday governorship election in Bayelsa state and called for setting up of special court on election offences to prosecute violators.

Addressing a press conference at KDI office in Osogbo, Osun State capital, the leader of NEVR team that observed the Bayelsa election said the last Saturday exercise in the state fell below the acceptable standard.

The KDI boss said the extent of violence that characterised the election was frightening. "We need special electoral court where perpetrators of election violence will be made to fave the music and receive appropriate punishment. The killings in Bayelsa state in the name of election is not acceptable".

Idowu expressed worry that with the way perpetrators of election offences are being rewarded by politicians, the problem of election violence would persist unless the violators are apprehended and sanction accordingly.

According to him, "with sorrow of heart, Kimpact confirmed that five (5) Nigerians died in Bayelsa State as a result of pre-election violence in Nembe LGA and two (2) persons in Yenagoa during the election".

"KDI has repeatedly stated that no ambition of any politician is worth the life of any Nigerian and we strongly condemn the lack of empathy, care and sensitivity by the political class regarding these cases."

Idowu frowned that some armed security personnel contributed to the election violence, carting away election materials and even destroying them.

He demanded swift prosecution of electoral offenders. He urged the Federal Government to set up special electoral court to prosecute and punish electoral offenders.

According to him, "actions should be taken to mitigate logistical issues in elections as this played out in the 2019 General election and also in the 2019 Bayelsa Governorship elections."

"KDI encourages INEC to look into engaging Logistics Companies that can distribute sensitive voting materials professionally and promptly instead of the public transporter that has over the time being a tool even in the hands of the political class."

"Communication strategy between INEC and Security agencies should be strategic and security agencies should ensure that credible security assessment is done, so as to ensure in subsequent elections that considerations are given to places that are volatile or prone to violence"

"INEC should investigate the high reports of materials being carted away and destroyed in some wards and LGAs. There should be more voter education and sensitization for the citizens", he said