The Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, has condemned attacks on ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, media, observers and other electoral participants during the supplementary polls.
Accoding the CDD, these attacks marred the supplementary elections.
The CDD condemned the activities of party agents and thugs it accused of carrying out the attacks through its Director, MS Idayat Hassan, in Abuja on Saturday.
Hassan, who was represented by an analyst at CDD, Dr Jideofor Adibe, said the group’s observers noted incidents of violence and disruption of voting process.
According to Hassan, the cases were reported in Kano, Sokoto, Benue and Bauchi states where supplementary governorship and state houses of assembly elections held.
“In Kano State, violence and disruption of polling were widespread as an army of thugs reportedly took over polling activities in several local government areas, including Nasarawa, Dala, Karaye and Gaya.
“It is distressing that political thugs took over the elections, forcing voters to vote along a party line, stoning voters and violently disrupting the elections.‘’
The CDD director added that this was because Gama ward in Nasarawa LGA in Kano State was strategic to winning the supplementary elections by either of the two leading candidates.
In Sokoto, particularly in Bodinga LGA, Bodinga ward (PU11), Hassan said a dispute which eventually disrupted the election, erupted between the agents of the two leading parties, adding that the election, was disrupted over attempts by a party agent to assist voters in voting.
Hassan, who insisted that evidence suggested that the deliberate deployment of political thuggery during elections seemed to have become the norm in Nigeria, said that the trend was extremely disturbing, and it was imperative to safeguard Nigeria’s democracy by holding the perpetrators accountable.
Questioning the massive deployment of security brother the elections with thuggery instrumentalised in the elections, Hassan said in several instances, the security agents were reported to have turned a blind eye to the act of brigandage perpetrated by the political thugs.
She said that the electoral cycle witnessed so much intimidation, harassment and attack on voters, journalists, observers and INEC officials.
“This unfortunate development, however, took an unprecedented turn in the Kano supplementary elections where party agents and thugs intimidated and attacked voters and observers in the course of exercising their franchise or monitoring the process.’’
According to her, there was a clear case of where party agents and thugs coerced and intimidated voters to vote for their candidates, adding that the high level of intolerance against poll monitors was not limited to observers.