The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Akwa Ibom State Branch, has called for the prosecution of persons found culpable of electoral offences during the just concluded re-run elections in Essien Udim local government area of the state.
The rights group, made the demand to thoroughly investigate and prosecution those found guilty following a report by the state police command that it had arrested about 79 suspected political thugs who were responsible for alleged violence during the polls.
Reacting to the development, the state Chairman of CLO, Otuekong Franklyn Isong during a press conference on Thursday, in Uyo, said that weak legislations to prosecute perpetrators of electoral violence was one of the reasons Nigeria has remained backwards politically.
Isong said; ““one thing that has kept Nigeria down politically is due to inability to prosecute those who committed electoral violence or malpractice. If we’ve been allowing the law to take its course on these offenders, by now we would have advanced in democracy and Nigeria would have been sanitized.
“Nigeria cannot say that there has been anyone standing trial on account of election malpractice right from 1999 to 2020, even when we had violence in 2011 elections, the then president set up pre and post-election committees to look into what happened during the campaigns and the elections proper. The committee even came to Akwa Ibom state, but uptill now nothing had been heard of the report.
“In Essien Udim rerun elections, we heard that police arrested 79 suspected political thugs. We want to see those people investigated, arraigned and charged to court, so that the system will be sanitized and it will serve as a deterrent to those who would allow themselves to be used to perpetrate violence and their sponsors too. But if we fail to do that, we will hear the same story repeatedly and we will be moving in circles,” he added.