VIOLENCE, GREATEST THREAT TO 2011 ELECTION â€“ TMG
The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has decried the spate of political violence in the country, saying it is the greatest threat to the 2011 elections.
The group also condemned the role played by security agencies so far in election monitoring and for failing to protect lives and property during elections.
A statement made available to Sunday Sun in Abuja by TMG's Chairman, Mashood Erubami, said: 'While Nigerians are getting ready to use the 2011 election to restructure governance through turning out good leadership that would represent their genuine interest and desires, violent settlement of political scores seems to be the greatest threat to achieving credible election as political thugs have resolved to thwart all planning by INEC and the Nigeria electorate to conduct and participate respectively in the coming elections.
'Allegation of perpetration of brutal killings and violence among candidates and political parties is becoming rampant and numerous without the police demonstrating necessary intolerance to these occurrences as a way to build the confidence of the people that 2011 election will be different. 'It is most tragic and disturbing that most of these killings took place in the presence of police officers or perpetrated by people in police uniform. By implication, it is lamenting that bombing is becoming an official license to some people to kill and maim in the name of politics and almost becoming a serious dent on our electoral process and our claim to democratic culture'.
The group said in order to arrest the threat posed by political violence to the 2011 elections, the police must be ready to prevent all avenues from which thuggery and political assassination are being prompted so that the next election can be better than the one held in 2007.
'Generally, it has been observed that the police and other security personnel posted to observe elections have not been taking proactive initiative to arrest untoward events before life and properties are destroyed as a result of either having been compromised by politicians to condone violence against their perceived enemies or opposition or to facilitate electoral fraud or theft of ballot boxes or electoral materials.
'These are evidence of failure of the security systems in the country and a clear indication that government has failed to deliver in the area of fulfilling its obligation to give security and welfare as its primary obligation,' TMG said. The group insisted that the Police must intensify intelligence gathering and proactive crime detonation against crime remedy and prosecution now and during elections.