Governorship/legislative polls: Lagos, Imo, Delta top list of 13 violence-prone states – KDI

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The Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI) has listed Lagos, Imo and Delta amongst 13 other states as areas that are at high risk of violence in the governorship and state legislative elections holding today (Saturday.)

The election violence monitoring and mitigation group said in a preliminary report ahead of today’s polls that there were a total of 131 cases of violence in the month of February alone.

The report signed by its executive director, Mr. Bukola Idowu, disclosed that 89 of the disturbances occurred on the presidential election day violence.

The group further stated that pre-election environment monitoring showed that there had been 482 cases of electoral violence in Nigeria, resulting in 160 deaths between January 1, 2022 and March 17, 2023.

Idowu noted that as the country moves closer to the state elections, there have been increase reports of incitements and political party groups attack in Lagos, Kano and Rivers States amongst others.

“While we know that stakeholders are spreading peace messaging around the states, we strongly suggest that on March 18 election special attention should be given to Lagos, Imo, Delta, Rivers, Oyo, Cross River, Ebonyi and Ogun in the south, while Kwara, Kogi, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano and Bauchi are states that our analysis has been marked as areas at the risk of violence in the election,” KDI stated.

It also observed that the issue of violence before and during the presidential election negatively affected women’s participation and representation.

“We have seen the situation where female candidates are being harassed in Kogi and Lagos. We outrightly condemn this and believe #WeCanDoBetter as a people in creating a safe political space for women to strive,” it said.

The KDI called on all election stakeholders to ensure that all efforts are made towards having a violence-free election today.

It also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure all election materials arrive at the various polling units timeously and that election commences promptly to avoid violence.

It further charged the commission to ensure that all ad hoc staff posted to the field are well equipped and can handle the business of the polls, saying any perceived ineptitude on the part of INEC staff could ignite violence.

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