A group of Nigerians under the platform of Concerned Nigerians have asked the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigerian Police Force to refrain from intervening in scheduled elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
In a letter signed by Deji Adeyanju for Concerned Nigerians, Ariyo Dare Atoye for Coalition in Defence of Nigerian Democracy and Constitution on Thursday, the group said the mass deployment of soldiers and police for elections has continued to undermine democratic practices expected during elections.
The group said, “As we approach the Kogi and Bayelsa states gubernatorial elections, we believe it is paramount to remind the Nigerian Army that its involvement in the 2019 general elections left indelible scars and trauma in the hearts of most Nigerians.
“Reports by local and international observers documented how the deployment and involvement of the Nigerian Army in the elections led to widespread voter intimidation, voter apathy, and electoral violence.
“It is equally important to remind the Nigerian Army that it has been helped to ward off pressure being mounted by politicians to get involved in our elections, with several court judgments, which between 2003 and 2015 emphatically declared the deployment of soldiers during elections in Nigeria as completely unconstitutional and illegal.”
The group asked the Nigerian Army to jettison all plans to deploy soldiers for the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections in order to "mark a turning point for the army to regain the trust of Nigerians".