Nigeria’s elections recorded 1,932 deaths in 16 years — NGO

A non-governmental organisation, The Election Network, Thursday, claimed Nigeria’s elections recorded over 1932 electoral-violence related deaths in 16 years.

The NGO, which gave the statistics in Abuja during the screening of the documentary produced on the 2019 elections, titled: “Left Behind,” said the 2019 election alone recorded 626 deaths.

In her presentation, Editor of The Election Network Abuja, Asari Ndem, said the outcome of the 2019 elections prompted her NGO to speak to the concerned Nigerians hence the production of the documentary.

She said: “The 2019 elections were a setback for Nigeria’s electoral and democratic framework. Officially, over 80 million Nigerians collected their voter cards from INEC but only about 30 percent of those people voted during the elections, the lowest recorded voter turnout in the history of Nigeria’s democracy.

“We wanted to understand why this had happened, to enable us make submissions to policymakers on how this level of failure can be avoided in coming elections. So, we decided to talk to the people.

“To show the human impact of electoral deficiencies on average Nigerians, The Election Network produced a documentary titled “Left Behind.”

“In this documentary, we interviewed Nigerians who were unable to or chose not to vote during the 2019 elections. We found that these Nigerians were stalled by factors like administrative shortcomings, intimidation, and violence.

“But what stood out the most is violence. Between 2003 and 2019 alone, over 1932 electoral-violence related deaths were recorded, with 626 of these deaths occurring in 2019 alone’’.

Ndem, however, proposed the passage of the Electoral Act amendment bill; electronic accreditation, voting and collation and prosecution of electoral offenders, among others as panacea for credible polls in the country.

She said: “Snatching of ballot boxes and other election-related offences are common features during elections in Nigeria but these acts often go unpunished. We encourage parliament to pass the bill for the enactment of the National Electoral Offences Commission, to ensure that electoral offenders are punished.

“Many voters were disenfranchised because they had registered in different places from where they currently live. It is important to ensure that voter cards are not only transferable but flexible, a Nigerian should be able to vote anywhere they are, when the need arises.”

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