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Category Archives: Advocacy
PRESS BRIEFING: CLIMATE REALITY LEADER TO HOST WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2023 ON TWITTER SPACE
By Smith Nwokocha
We are planning to Host World Environment Day 🌎✊ on Twitter Space to find ways to end the impact of Climate Change, which includes ending the era of Fossil Fuel, and beating polluters, holding them accountable, while we Advocate for Defund Climate Chaos, holding Banks financing fossil fuel accountable as well. Join us on Twitter Space with the link.
Host Organizer: Smith Nwokocha, Climate Reality Leader 🟢, Global Citizen ⭕
UN Environment Programme
UN Climate Change
UN biodiversity convention
United Nations Biodiversity
UN SDG Action Campaign
Global Citizen Impact
Global Citizen All-Access
Climate Reality Project
African Climate Reality Project
Fridays for Future International
African ChangeMakers Initiative – #ACi
African Climate Alliance
Port Harcourt Wakawaka
EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS GROUP CALL FOR IMPROVED ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR
By Smith Nwokocha
At Educatial Stakeholders Engagement Meeting with the theme: “The Education Revolution and The Pathway for Success”. It held at Escape Hotel, Abuloma, Port Harcourt. The Founder of Educatial Mr.Francis Muofananya emphasized that #Educatial is “the one-stop shop for everything Education” and he believes that Educatial will birth Great Institutions and create Wealth alongside. Truly, globally Education has witnessed great transformation with emphatic growth online and has a new ecosystem of learning. Educatial according to the founder, he said, at Educatial we will be exporting Education to the world in response to the need for Education advancement with indigenous investors/engineers. However, “Education can be difficult sometimes, let’s make it a lot easier”. Finally, in his remark, he pointed that; “Educatial has come to democratize e-learning in Nigeria.
Keynote Speaker: Prof. Barigbon Nsereka (Head of Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Rivers State University); He stated an underlying quotes; “Today’s Super Technology will be Tomorrow’s antiquity”. “Education banishes Ignorance and breaks Superstition”. In revoluntionalizing Education, we have to focus on Students centered learning by developing skills without waiting for the Government. He emphasized; How we can BRING BACK THE BOOK, which points to how we can revive and revoluntionalize Education in Nigeria and that’s the way of prosperity for Nigerians. Thereby, making us Citizens of the Cyberspace. Prof recommends that Education should not be taking lightly, our Education Curriculum should be revisited and Education inequalities addressed.
Mr. Celestine Achi (Digital Strategist): Educatial will be synonymous to Education in the nearest future Possible. The future according to him, don’t just happens, the future of Education is here. In his words, we are talking about Revolution in Education, is either you adapt or loose out. Educatial is a product of two years of research and you can imagine what that will bring in the ecosystem platform in the education sector. Therefore, Educatial is a one stop shop for everything Education. The place of Community learning in education and funding is a challenge for quality Education, but educatial has the answers. We have the EduHub, EduForum, EduTv, EduRadio, EduField, EduSocial, EduChat, EduGame, EduGeolocator, EduFund, EduMatketplace, EduIntelligence, EduSearch, EduTools, EduClouds, EduNews, EduScanner, EduPublisher, and EduDrive. He emphasized that, Educatial is designed to enhance the learning and teaching experience for all individuals, students, professionals etc. It is done through a virtual reality campus that brings together educators, businesses, students and schools into one Community.
ANTI-CORRUPTION GROUP AMPLIFIES THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR IN NIGERIA…
Wadata Media and Advocacy Centre (WAMAC) an NGO with the support of MacArthur Foundation held a Town Hall Meeting to amplify the Fight against Corruption in Local Languages with a theme: “Corruption In Education sector In Nigeria: The Need For Moral Reorientation” held on 13th May, 2023 at NOVOTEL HOTEL & RESORT, Stadium Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Participants were drawn from the Media, Civil Society Organizations, Community Based Organizations, Religious and Community leaders as well as anti-Corruption agencies, notably the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices & Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA). Also representatives of Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Peace Corps are in attendance.
At the end of the Town Hall meeting the following resolutions were made to fast tract the Fight Against Corruption through Community Participation as follows:-
- The Town Hall meeting advocated for speedy intervention of Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and legal Practitioners to vacate the Perpetual Injunction that became an impediments for the anti-Corruption agencies to investigate and prosecute Rivers state government and its agencies.
- The meeting resolved, that, community should rise up and expose corrupt practices in their domain through awareness in rural and urban communities to inculcate ‘virtues of societal norms and values’ in Schools to re-orient the society on the menace of corruption.
- Participants agreed that the endemic corruption in our society must be tamed with sincerity of purpose to compliments efforts of anti-corruption agencies.
- The Town Hall Meeting recognized the role of traditional institution and Religious leaders in the fight against corruption through courage and honesty to uphold the sanctity of truthfulness and accountability.
- Communities were obliged to re-invigorate local tradition contents to instill discipline from homes to reduce moral corruption.
- The participants also calls for a new mechanism to revitalize education sector in Rivers State through effective funding of the education sector and the need for good remuneration and welfare of Teachers.
- The meeting also calls for modernization of schools infrastructure and employment of new teachers through implementation of committee of experts’ reports on education tagged FACILITIES INSPECTION REMUNIRATION AND EVALUATION (FIRE) to save educational sector in Rivers state from collapse.
- Finally, the meeting urged participants to grow beyond Town Hall meeting to be ambassadors of anti-corruption.
This communique was made this day 13th May, 2023 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
ZUBAIR A IDRIS
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/PROGRAMMES MANAGER
PRESS STATEMENT BY CIEPD
April 4, 2023
DE-ESCALATION OF LOOMING CRISIS THROUGH CONFORMITY TO DUE PROCESS
The Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD) with funding support from Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) implemented the Collaborative Election Violence Prevention and Mitigation Project in Rivers State in the 2023 Presidential and Gubernatorial Election.
Following the release of the Final result of the gubernatorial and state house of assembly election, held on the 18th of March 2023 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), there has been unrest in the state (Rivers State), Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD) with funding from PIND Foundation hereby makes the following statement:
A key attribute of a credible electoral process is the access to seek redress in court when candidates and political parties feel they have been undone by the outcome of an election.
The 2023 gubernatorial elections in Rivers state may have come and gone but the fallout from the process has been characterized by violent triggers such as intimidation and counter-accusations from all parties involved. This has led to heightened tension in the state. As an organization that is committed to ensuring peace and nonviolent means in resolving disputes, we are concerned by recent happenings and hereby make the following calls to all stakeholders involved:
1. We condemn in its entirety the violence that took place in the wake of the protests by political parties around the Independent National Electoral Commission – Rivers State Office and calls for constitutional means and violence-free measures to resolve electoral disputes.
2. The Independent National Electoral Commission Rivers state should take actions that depict their independent status. They must act and be seen as independent to calm the brewing tension.
3. Security agencies especially the Rivers State Police Command, in dealing with post-electoral complaints should not be seen by the actions and inactions as being partial and used by politicians to witch hunt any political party. They (The police) must act fast to calm the violence to avert the loss of lives and destruction of property.
Finally, we urge all political parties, INEC, and security agencies to play by the rule and allow the law to take its full course to avoid the looming crisis
We stand for peace, as that is the only option.
Long live Rivers State.
Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development.
PRESS BRIEFING ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONEERING PROCESS IN RIVERS STATE BY CIEPD IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PIND
CIEPD PRE GUBERNATORIAL AND STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS PRESS RELEASE.
The Collaborative Violence Prevention and Mitigation in Rivers State Election project is implemented by Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development (CIEPD) with funding from Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND). The goal of the project is to sensitize the electorate especially youths and the general public on the need for peace through a constructive engagement before, during and after the Elections in 8 high risk LGA’s in Rivers State namely: Port Harcourt, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Akuku-Toru, Eleme, Obio/Akpor, Tai, Asari-Toru, and Ikwerre
The project trained and deployed 23 Community Stakeholders Network members and 149 Conflict Trackers to monitor Elections and report incidents of Electoral Violence across Rivers State with focus on the 8 high risk local government Areas.
In view of the Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Elections in Rivers State coming up on the 18th March 2023 and as a follow up to our preliminary report from the Conduct of the Presidential Elections on February 25th 2023, we hereby call on INEC, the Security Agents in the state to work toward non-violence elections by the following recommendations:
- EARLY ARRIVAL OF ELECTORAL OFFICERS AND MATERIALS: It has been observed that electoral materials and INEC staff arrived at the polling units late in some LGAs. By this act, INEC intentionally or unintentionally creates environment that is susceptible to voters’ suppression, voters’ intimidation, anxiety and chaotic thereby exacerbating electoral violence. These effects are more experienced in polling units with very high number of registered voters such as Obio-Akpor Ward 6, unit 1 Woji with a voting strength of over 8,000 and also in unit 2, 3, 4 and 19 and others.
We therefore call on INEC to avoid triggering electoral violence by making sure that electoral materials including sensitive materials arrive early enough as stipulated in the Section 120 of Electoral Act that states that the polling unit should be opened at 8am. Any polling official who fails to report promptly at his or her polling unit on an election day without lawful excuse commits an offence of dereliction of duty and is liable on conviction to maximum fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both.
- HIJACK OF NEW POLLING UNITS CREATED: It was reported by our observers in Akuku Toru Ward 5 and in Tai LGA, that the new polling units that where created by INEC were hijacked by influential people in the community to their personal homes as a result of the INEC staff inability to locate the polling unit. This no doubt is a conflict trigger
It is therefore imperative that INEC properly identify and mark the new polling units created for easily identification not just by INEC adhoc staff by all to avoid such situation that can escalate violence.
- ATTEMPT TO DISENFRACHISE ELECTORATE: Reports getting to our situation room, indicated a deliberate attempt to scare people from tcoming out to exercise the right to cast their votes by threatening them that if they are not voting a particular party they should stay at home from Iwofe axis of Port Harcourt, township Area Ward 7 Tourist beach, Ikwerre LGA Ward 7, Elekiahia just to mention a few. This obviously can undermine peaceful election. We are therefore calling on Security Agents to take these threats serious by providing unbiased apolitical securitization of electorate in Rivers State. We call on the military to extend the show of force parade especially areas with such security threat, in addition mount road blocks starting from Thursday evening especially around hotels that are likely to accommodate agents of violence to prevent them from causing mayhem.
- Declaration of the Result at the polling Unit: Reports getting to us from the Presidential and National Assembly election indicates that this was a major trigger to violence . However. Section 60 of the Electoral Act states that the presiding officer should count and enter the result obtained at the polling unit before proceeding to the LGA collation centre. A presiding officer who wilfully contravenes any provision of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not more than N500,000 or imprisonment for a term of at least six months. We therefore call on INEC to educate and encourage their staff irrespective of being permanent, adhoc to be law abiding and follow the stipulated provisions of the Electoral Act.
- BYPASS OF WARD COLLATION CENTRES AND RESULT UPLOAD: There have been circulation of warnings that polling Officer must upload the polling unit result before leaving the place. We are also mindful of the discretional power that the Electoral Act bestowed on INEC Section 63 “that voting and transmission of result under the Act shall be in accordance with the procedures determine by the commission” we are therefore calling on INEC to communicate clearly to Nigerians the procedure of transmission that they have determined for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly and abide by it. INEC should not heat up the polity by surrounding the process of transmission of the result with ambiguity
From the reports getting to us so far there have been kidnapped of 3 candidates in Rivers State, we therefore seize this opportunity to call on the release of all kidnapped candidates , Election is not a war
We call on all stakeholders involved to ensure destruction of lives and properties are reduced to the barest minimum in Rivers state during and after March 18th 2023 elections
We say No to Electoral Violence
God Bless the federal Republic of Nigeria
God Bless Rivers State
Community Initiative for Enhanced Peace and Development
MULTI STAKEHOLDERS FORUM ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS IN RIVERS STATE.
By Smith Nwokocha
COMMUNITY INITIATIVE FOR ENHANCED PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT (CIEPD) IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FOUNDATION FOR PARTNERSHIP IN THE NIGER DELTA (PIND) Organizes a MULTI STAKEHOLDERS FORUM ON PEACEFUL ELECTIONS. At Grand Tokyu Hotel, Stadium Road, Port Harcourt. Wednesday 8th March, 2023.
The forum started at about 4:00pm, introduction of Dignitaries. Remark from the security agencies present, starting with a Goodwill message from Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Rivers State Command-DCC Dike; he said, Safety and Protection of lives is the mandate of the Security Personnel, to ensure a violent free election. The Assistant Commissioner of Police (Mamman Joseph) representing the Commissioner of Police Rivers State. He emphasized that, Rivers State was violence free compared to other states, during the Presidential Election. He advised that, Electorates should talk to their friends and families at home, to be calm. Ensure, you cast your vote peacefully.
Nathaniel Akpos (State Coordinator, Transition Monitoring Group): Supports CIEPD in ensuring peaceful and non-violent Election in the fourth coming Gubernatorial Election. Stakeholders present spoke on Peaceful and Non-violent Election. They all agreed; “We are one accord”.
Comrade Enefa Georgewill (Chairman, Rivers State Civil Society Organization), he emphasized that there is need to sign a Peaceful Accord for Non-violent Election.
PIND Rep: The central objective of Peace Programme is to achieve peace across the region through peace Actors efforts. If Election emerging conflicts are not managed, it could escalate, so with the participation of Community Influencers, it has been helpful.
The Moderator, reiterate that “Whatever we must do to avoid violence, we have to do”.
CIEPD Programme Manager, he said, CIEPD focus is on Peace building and conflict resolution. CIEPD introduced “Conflict Watch Centres”. Since 2015 to present, CIEPD have been able to track elections (three circles of election) in Nigeria. On Saturday, 25th February, 2023, CIEPD in collaboration with PIND deployed 23 Community Stakeholders Network members and 149 Conflict Trackers to monitor the Presidential and National Assembly Elections in 8 LGAs of Rivers State that are high risk electoral violence areas. Their specific roles are to monitor and report conflict indicators and triggers to the CIEPD Situation Room which immediately report to relevant stakeholders for prompt intervention and resolution. The Situation Room was opened on the 24th of February,2023 at 4:00pm. Personnel in the Situation Room includes the following: Egondu Ezinwoke-Ogbalor (Lead), Everest Nwankwo, Courage Nsirimovu, Anthony Abeh and Olorunsola Testimony.
The All Progressive Congress APC House of Assembly Candidate (Prof. Chuku); In his words, he said; this is the worse election filled with fraud. Though, he is an APC faithful, but Labour Party won the Election in his LGA, but at the end of the day, it was massively rigged at the Collation Centre. He emphasized, until people’s voice and choice is respected and counted, there is nothing like Free and Fair Election. If the people in Government want to get power by all means, then, there’sa big problem.
Egondu Ezinwoke-Ogbalor (CIEPD), appreciates the Rep of the APC for honouring the invitation to be present. She equally said, after the Gubernatorial Election and State House of Assembly Elections, there will be a debriefing exercise. The Peace Accord document will be signed by all Candidates, however she read through the document to the hearing of everyone. She used the opportunity to celebrate women and mark International Women’s Day.
Closing, she thanked everyone for coming. The forum ended at about pass 6:00pm and refreshment where served.
PRESS STATEMENT: PRELIMINARY POST-ELECTION STATEMENT ON THE 2023 PRESIDENTIAL AND NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION
February 26, 2023
By Global Right Nigeria
The Incident Centre for Election Atrocities (ICEA) commends Nigerians for their show of patriotism and courage demonstrated through their turnout and orderly conduct at the polls on February 25, 2023. Despite attempts at voter suppression through violence and ballot snatching by unscrupulous elements, Nigerians defied the odds and came out in significant numbers to exercise their franchise even in areas that were widely acknowledged as flash points.
Below is a summary of our preliminary findings across the country.
Logistics and Opening of Polls
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) was clearly logistically ill-prepared for the elections. While most voters had arrived at their polling units as early as 6:00am, a significant number of INEC officers and ad-hoc staff of the Commission did not arrive at their assigned polling units till about 10:30am and some, even later. Consequently, voting did not commence at most of such polling units till 11:30am, as against the stipulated commencement at 8.30am. In some instances, they claimed to have arrived with the wrong materials or insufficient ballot sheets, thereby impacting the ability of registered voters to commence voting.
The late arrival of election officers and materials at the majority of the polling units resulted in polls closing very late at these units. For instance, some of the polling units in Abuja particularly along the Airport Road axis voted well into midnight while at a few other polling units, voting took place all through the night into the early hours of February 26, 2023.
Voting Process and Functionality of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS)
We noted a high level of rowdiness that could have been prevented at a number of the polling units with large numbers of voters, and where accreditation and voting had commenced late. We also noted that the election officers and assigned security personnel did not possess the requisite orientation to manage the crowds effectively. In these stressful circumstances, several disabled persons, elderly, and sick people were disenfranchised.
We noted that the accreditation process was smooth at most polling units and over 90% of voters were successfully accredited without significant challenges. We are however very concerned, about the failure to upload the election results using the BVAS after the voting exercise in major locations including the FCT and Lagos. This failure casts a strong shadow on the transparency of the elections and gave wiggle room for manipulation. Worse still evidence has emerged of the manipulation of some result sheets by unscrupulous INEC officials, and in some instances, aided by security officials.
Violence, Voter Suppression and Attacks on Election Observers
The 2023 general elections just like previous elections was marred by violence, before and on election day. We documented at least 10 deaths in Edo, Taraba, Rivers, Gombe, Abia and Kogi states on election day. At least 7 persons including 3 ad-hoc staff of INEC were abducted on election day in Taraba and Kaduna states.
There were also incidents of documented several premeditated attacks on several polling units and voters, and also the destruction of voting materials including ballot boxes and papers, especially in parts of Lagos and Edo states.
There were several documented incidents of open threats of violence directed at voters at polling units. Particularly directed at those who fail to vote for a particular political party and directing them to exit the polling units. In some areas, voters who were suspected to support particular political parties or from certain ethnic groups were denied access to the polling unit.
Our preliminary findings show that Lagos, Kogi and Edo states recorded the highest levels of voting disruptions that were occasioned by violence. There were also cases of attacks on election observers at certain polling units where they attempted to take footage of the violence. Dayo Aiyetan, the Executive Director of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) was attacked at the Agwan Fulani Town Hall, Gwagwalada town, FCT while he was covering the Presidential and National Assembly elections. Six other journalists, Akam James, Daily Post’s State Correspondent, Princewill Sede, the Publisher of Upfront News Magazine, Jeany Metta, the Managing Editor Upfront News Magazine, Joe Kunde Reporter of TVC and the Cameraman, Mr Miebi Bina were assaulted and chased away when thugs attacked the Ebelebiri community Ward 05 unit 19 in Bayelsa state on the 25th of February 2023. Adebola Ajayi, a Lagos metro beat reporter at the Peoples Gazette was manhandled and the phone temporarily confiscated for attempting to take footage when thugs attacked a polling unit in the Oshodi area of Lagos state.
A major road leading to the community of the PDP senatorial candidate for Kogi Central, Natasha Akpoti, was destroyed just a few hours before the commencement of the presidential and parliamentary elections, cutting it off from the rest of the state and making it inaccessible even to election officers. Curiously, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello admitted to destroying the major road but claimed it was to prevent terrorists from gaining access. Youths from the areas and other citizens went ahead to fill up the wide gully dug in the middle of the road with sand to enable elections officers and others on election duty to gain access to the area.
A few hours before the commencement of the elections, authorities particularly the Police and EFCC reported arrests of certain individuals caught with a large sum of money suspected to be deployed on election day for vote buying. On election day, there were further arrests of persons who attempted to buy votes, particularly in Abuja, Kaduna and Kano. The ICEA field monitors also documented cases of vote buying, particularly in Lagos, Kogi and Edo states. In summary, Dr. Cletus Tyokyaa, the Director-General of the PDP governorship campaign council in Benue who curiously is also a lecturer with the Sarwuan Tarka University (formerly known as the University of Agriculture), Makurdi, was arrested by EFCC at the RCM Polling Unit in Daudu, Guma Local Government Area of Benue state with the sum of N306,700 in various denominations stashed in his car. The EFCC also arrested a man for alleged vote buying with N194,000 at Gidan Zakka polling unit, Goron Dutse area of Kano Municipal Local Government, Kano State. The Kano office of the EFCC further reported the arrest of 10 suspects at Kofar Danagundi and Kwalli Primary School in Municipal Local Government Area of the state for attempting to share items including bags of rice and semovita to influence voters during the elections. A party agent buying votes through bank transfers was also arrested in Abaji in the Federal Capital Territory, while two persons, Stanley Nsemo and Eno Amponsah were arrested in Calabar, Cross River State with the sum of $450 (Four Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars) and N156, 800 on suspicion of alleged votes buying. Also, Maryam Mamman Alhaji, with 18 voter cards on her was intercepted in a sting operation by the EFCC at Badarwa/Malali Ward 01 and 08, Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Conduct of Law Enforcement
The ICEA field monitors reported a high level of civility displayed by law enforcement at the polling unit. However, security agents failed in most instances to prevent incidents of voter suppression and destruction of voting materials on their watch. They also failed to assist overwhelmed election officials with crowd control.
The Incident Centre for Election Atrocities is concerned about the high incidents of thuggery characterized in certain regions, particularly South-West, North- Central and South-South of the country. The audacity with which these crimes were committed under the watchful eyes of law enforcement is of greater concern. The Centre wishes to emphasize as it has done in previous communications that the 2023 Nigerian general elections represent a critical moment for the future of the country and West Africa as a whole.
As the collation and announcement of results are underway, ICEA calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to maintain political neutrality in the election process. We also call on the Inspector General of Police to ensure the arrest and prosecution of all persons indicted in the political violence and manipulation recorded, including its personnel who were compromised and deliberately looked the other way while voters were being attacked and intimidated at the polls.
Signed on Behalf of the Incident Centre for Election Atrocities (ICEA)
Head of Secretariat, ICEA and Executive Director, Global Rights
Incident Centre for Election Atrocities
+2349011 302 1303
INCIDENT CENTRE FOR ELECTION ATROCITIES IN NIGERIA…
By Global Right Nigeria.
…..a Monthly tracking of hate speech & election
atrocities in Nigeria
This report documents incidents of hate speech, malicious
propagation of fake news, violence and other forms of
elections-related atrocities for the month of January 2023.
The month of January was marred by an increased election-related atrocities, including politically-motivated abductions and killings of candidates and politically exposed individuals, particularly in the Southeast region. Facilities belonging to INEC and Police were also attacked and vandalized by gunmen. The growing trend of violent crimes ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria is eroding the civic space and represents the largest threat to the peaceful conduct of the elections. Some of the political actors are blaming these incidents on their political opponents while security agencies are attributing the carnage against INEC and some politicians in the southeast to separatist groups such as IPOB. Nonetheless, these attacks have the tendency to significantly impact the election process and could disrupt election activities both during and after the 2023 general elections.
War of Words
As the 2023 elections approach, political tensions are rising and leading to verbal confrontations and violence. The spokespersons of the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were engaged in a heated exchange, and their followers and supporters took the verbal war to social media.
There were accusations and counter-accusations between the Governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Senator Magnus Abe and the Governor of Rivers State, Mr Nyesome Wike.
Furthermore, supporters of two political leaders, Hon Ferdinard Dozie Nwankwo of APGA and Senator Uche Ekwunife of PDP, were involved in a physical altercation on January 7, 2023, which highlights how the heated language of the political elites is inciting violence between their supporters.
In the southeast region, a group of ten gunmen destroyed campaign materials and announced that there would be no election in Biafra land at Orie Mbah Market Akpugo, Nkanu West LGA, Enugu State, on January 28, 2023. This incident is causing fear among citizens who may have to risk their lives to participate in the election.
Election Atrocities Impact on Nigeria ‘s0 Civic Space
The growing election violence and hate speech in the weeks leading up to the elections is further shrinking the civic space in Nigeria. Desperate politicians are suppressing opposing voices, restricting the rights to freedom of association and expression. This is causing a further decline in trust in the Nigerian democratic process and could result in a larger number of citizens being disenfranchised due to fear of violence.
Politicians in some parts of the country have resorted to the use of inflammatory hate speech in their campaigns. One such instance was the derogatory remarks made by the current Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly during a campaign at Ohokobe Ibeku Umuahia North, Abia state where he referred to the candidate of the Labour Party as a son of nobody who could be easily dealt with by his supporters. A few days later, the convoy of the Labour Party candidate was attacked.
The APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, claimed the Labour Party Presidential Candidate is the Biblical Peter that denied Jesus Christ three times before the cock crowed. The statement was made at the APC Presidential Campaign rally at Awka, Anambra state on January 31, 2023. A day earlier, in his campaigns in Akwa Ibom, Tinubu had called out the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel for supporting the Presidential candidate of his party, the PDP, and referred to him as “that boy”. Such statements have the potential of instigating reprisals and uncontrolled use of hate speech.
A political rally in Ahiaba primary school field, Abia State was disrupted on January 13, 2023 after the Abia State Governor and a member of the State House of Assembly representing Obingwa West made offensive remarks about a current Senator. In response, Youths from the community massed and caused destruction, leading to police shooting.
Again, on January 30, 2023, in Enugu State, a group of youths invited to Arthur Eze residence for a rally, turned hostile and insulted the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), burning the campaign materials given to them.
Additionally, there have been instances of disinformation and fake news spreading, including a reported but unverified attack on a man wearing the Labour Party campaign shirt and claims of a doctored video.
While slanderous comments, hate speech, politically motivated violence and the use of thugs are tactics that have been employed by Nigerian politicians in past elections to intimidate and harass voters and political opponents, the use of these antics has been magnified by the aid of social media where politicians and their sympathizers generate and share fake news and hate speech against opponents and their supporters at little to no cost.
Politically Motivated Attacks on0 INEC, Police & Military Personnel /0 Facilities
The violence against INEC resources, personnel and facilities continued in January 2023, with the arson attack on INEC facilities in Enugu South LGA, Enugu State, on January 15th. In addition to the attack on the INEC facility, there were two cases of destruction of Police stations. They include:
- The bombing of Afor Atta Divisional Police Headquarters in the Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State on January 2, 2023, resulting in the complete destruction of the Police Station.
- The attack on the Ndiegoro Police Station in Abia state on January 17, 2023, resulting in the death of one Police Inspector.
- The attack on the Oguta Police Station, Oguta LGA in Imo state on January 21, 2023, resulting in the death of one Police Officer.
Other security personnel were also not spared in these politically motivated attacks in the month of January. These include:
- The abduction of the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Pankshin Division, Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State on January 12, 2023.
- The killing of one female Police Officer attached to the highway patrol team of the Imo State Police Command on January 25, 2023, in the Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo state.
- The killing of two soldiers at the military checkpoint at Idodo in Enugu state on January 28, 2023.
- The killing of three Police Officers at Ebonyi State border checkpoint along the Enugu/Abakaliki highway on January 28, 2023.
The incessant attacks on police formations by gunmen wielding assault rifles pose a threat to a peaceful election in the country.
Attacks on Politicians and other Politically Exposed Persons
The month of January saw numerous attacks on politically exposed individuals, with at least 15 abductions (including 1 Police Officer) and at least 30 killings (including 11 security personnel) excluding security agents. There were also at least 6 attacks at political campaign rallies.
- A bomb hit the convoy of a former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim on January 2, causing the death of three police officers and a paramilitary official.
- on January 8, 2023, Hon. Sunkanmi Obisesan, the Chief of Staff to the Osun State Speaker was attacked by gunmen in Ifofin, Ilesa
- The same January 8, gunmen attacked the APC Presidential Campaign office in Ilesa, Osun.
- A former Edo State House of Assembly member, Festus Edughele was abducted in Edo State on January 9, 2023.
- Gunmen bombed Ihiala Local Government Headquarters in Anambra State which housed the administrative block of the council, INEC office, Health Office department, NYSC, Education department and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Office on January 12, 2023 resulting in the death of three people.
- Gunmen attacked the residence of the spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) in Imo State on January 14, 2023, killing four people.
- A wife and 6 children of the District Head of Mutumbiyu, Sani Muhammad, a second-class chief in Jalingo, Taraba state were abducted at their home on January 19, 2023.
- Mr. Sale Yakubu, a Councilor in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State was killed on January 19, 2023, by a yet-to-be-identified gunman.
- A Catholic Priest, the Catechist of St. Monica Catholic Church, Ikulu-Pari, Kefas Ishaya in Chawai Chiefdom of Kauru, Kaduna was abducted on January 19, 2023, in an attempted attack on Rev Fr Joseph Shekari, who was not in his residence at the time of the attack.
- There was a twin explosion that rocked the campaign rally of the APC at the Rumuwoji Playground in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on January 19, 2023.
- One person was killed and many others injured when gunmen invaded a rally organized by the PDP at Ward 7 Ewu community in Esan Central LGA, Edo on January 20, 2023.
- A Plateau State First class traditional ruler, the Agwom Izere, His Royal Highness Dr. Isaac Azi Wakili was abducted when heavily armed gunmen reportedly invaded his Palace situated in the Shere District of Jos East on January 20, 2023.
- The Sole Administrator of Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, Mr Christopher Ohizu was abducted in his residence on January 20, 2023, and subsequently beheaded on January 22, 2023, after his abductors allegedly collected N6 million ransom.
- The campaign team of the Presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi was attacked on his way to the airport in Katsina state after a rally at Muhammad Dikko Stadium on January 23, 2023.
- Gunmen attacked and killed Christian Ihim, the Okwe Ward Chairman and member of APC in Okwe, a community in Onuimo Local Government of Imo State and abducted five other chieftains of APC in the community on January 23, 2023.
- Thugs attacked members of the APC, in Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State destroying vehicles and motorcycles on January 23, 2023.
- Lagos State PDP Deputy Governorship Candidate, Funke Akindele was harassed and chased out of the Ketu Fruit Market in Lagos State on January 24, 2023.
- Akilu Kuta, the Chairman of Shiroro Local Government Area together with the Niger State APC Assistant Youth Leader, Suleiman Galkogo were attacked during a raid on Kuta town by alleged bandits on January 24, 2023. Three persons were abducted during that incident.
- One person was killed and others injured as gunmen attacked the campaign rally of the People’s Democratic Party in Rivers State on January 24, 2023.
- The District Head of Chawai in Kauru Local Government of Kaduna State, Chief Joshua Ahmadu was abducted by gunmen who invaded his house at Zambina on January 25, 2023.
- Thugs and hoodlums attacked the convoy of the PDP Deputy Governorship Candidate of Ogun State, Adekunle Akinlade, in Ogun State on January 26, 2023.
- Three people were killed during an attack involving the convoy of Abdul-Azeez Adediran (Jandor), a governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos State in the Coker area of Aguda, Surulere Local Government Area of the state on January 27, 2023.
- Gunmen attacked the constituency office of the member representing Bende Federal Constituency, Abia State and the spokesperson of the House of Representatives who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs. Barr. Benjamin Kalu on January 27, 2023.
- Political thugs raided and set fire to the residence of the APC National Assembly candidate for Ikwerre-Emuoha Federal Constituency, Ezemonye Ezekiel-Amadi in Omerelu, Ikwerre LGA, Rivers State on January 28, 2023.
- At least 11 people were injured as thugs disrupted the APC rally at a primary school field in Onicha Ohaozara Local Government in Ebonyi State, on January 28, 2023.
- The Umuogudu Akpu Ngbo office of Ebubeagu Security was attacked by heavily armed men on January 30, 2023, leaving many of the security agents with bullet wounds while the office, vehicles and motorcycle were set ablaze.
- The APC Campaign Director in Opobo/Nkoro, Opobo Local Government Area in River State was abducted at the venue of a scheduled rally on January 31, 2023.
The continued occurrence of these attacks without intervention is a cause for concern as it affects the security situation during the elections. The fear of further attacks and dissatisfaction with the government’s response to the security situation could trigger a higher voter apathy.
Despite being largely under-reported, the political violence in the Southeast and other parts of the country is a cause for concern. Though the southeast region is the smallest in land mass, it is home to a part of the citizenry that has felt disconnected, left out and maltreated by successive administrations in Nigeria since the civil war. This has led to a general lack of engagement in past elections.
In Conclusion, the political violence in Nigeria, particularly in the southeast, is a cause for concern and is largely under-reported. The Pre-election incidents, such as the destruction of INEC facilities, are likely deliberate attempts by desperate politicians to instil fear and disrupt the elections. The government needs to take steps to address the increasing wave of insecurity, protect the public and ensure the integrity of the 2023 general elections.
Incident Centre for Election Atrocities (#ICEA): +234911 302 1303
PRESS RELEASE BY DEVCOM ON WORLD CANCER DAY
World Cancer Day 2023: To prevent cancer in Nigeria requires public awareness, literacy for early detection and treatment
Lagos — Monday, February 6th 2023: To prevent deaths and infirmity due to Cancer in Nigeria would require national and sub-national public awareness and literacy aimed at finding cancer early and treating it. As the world marks the second year of the 3-year World Cancer Campaign with theme: Closing the care gap, Development communications Network calls for institutionalization of processes to foster cancer literacy amongst the Nigerian public. We call on health practitioners, inclusive of all cadres, especially health promotion and health education experts, national media organizations, and stakeholders to provide requisite resources as we unite to address the burden of the disease in the country.
The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) recently raised alarm over the rising figures of cervical cancer in the country. The disease, which is easily preventable and treatable during its early stages has seen a whooping 12,000 cases diagnosed and 8,000 deaths registered annually. Being one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the country and the second most common cancer amongst females after breast cancer, the country needs to address the low level of public cancer awareness.
Although general awareness of cancer screening, prevention, and treatment is low among global populations, especially in low and middle-income countries (including Nigeria) with poor literacy rates leading to an increase in cancer prevalence, there is an urgent need to fill this void with proper education as a tool for individual care. This year’s World Cancer Day should bring the attention of the public to how important it is to prevent cancer, find it early, and treat it.
In handling any problem, such as life-threatening diseases like cancer, awareness is the first step to its prevention. Nigeria needs to take action against cancer challenges with the adequate funding of cancer registries as part of multi-thronged approaches to prevention and care.
Communities and individuals should not be left out of initiatives aimed at building stronger alliances and new collaborations to make a powerful appeal to governments at all levels in the country. This will ensure improvement on the public understanding of the severity of cancer, thereby promoting its prevention, detection and cure.
About DEVCOMS: Development Communications (DevComs) Network is Nigeria’s leading media development organization with more than two decades’ experience in science, public health and social sector advocacy through the media. DevComs won the first ONE Africa Award (2008) based on her innovative strategies in addressing maternal and child in Nigeria. For further information: Please contact via email firstname.lastname@example.org; Vunamba7@gmail.com or call: 08060638058, 09077894137