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Yiaga Africa Condemns Violence, Voter Suppression, Vote-buying, Political Thuggery To Win Elections Across Nigeria

March 20, 2023

Yiaga Africa said it confirmed reports of snatching/destruction of ballot papers during the counting of votes in Ungogo Special Primary School in Kano State. 


Yiaga Africa on Sunday condemned the acts of voter suppression, political thuggery and desperation to secure electoral victory at all costs in the just-concluded general elections.


Yiaga Africa said it confirmed reports of snatching/destruction of ballot papers during the counting of votes in Ungogo Special Primary School in Kano State. 


Yiaga Africa asserted that in the flagrant abuse of the constitution and the 2022 Electoral Act, registered voters and fellow citizens were denied the right to vote in some states, stressing that voting is a constitutionally guaranteed right of voters that requires free and fair participation of all eligible voters in a safe and secure environment. 


This was made known on Sunday in a preliminary statement issued on the March 18, 2023 Governorship election, jointly signed by Ezenwa Nwagwu, for Chair, Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote and Itodo Samson, Executive Director.


It said that in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, security personnel prevented all observers from observing the collation process and only allowed party agents for the All Progressives Congress, Peoples Democratic Party and Social Democratic Party to have access to the collation centre. 


The report reads: "During the Saturday, March 18 governorship elections, Yiaga Africa deployed the Parallel Vote Tabulation (PVT) methodology to observe the elections in Benue, Delta and Kano States. A total of 900 stationary observers were deployed to a representative randomly sample of 300 polling units for each of the states, and 97 roving observers. 


"With this methodology, Yiaga Africa can confidently assess the set-up of the polling unit, voter accreditation and voting, counting and independently verify official results for Benue, Delta and Kano states announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). 


"Over the course of Saturday, 18 March 2023 Election Day, Yiaga Africa verified 216 critical incidents witnessed by WatchingTheVote citizen observers. These included:


"Yiaga Africa WTV observers reported hijack of election materials, and election personnel for Ward 10, Unit 2 in Emohua LGA of Rivers State by thugs. A similar incident was reported in Oshodi/Isolo LGA, Lagos state where armed thugs believed to be affiliated with the APC shot sporadically to disrupt the process in two PUs located inside Okota grammar school and five polling units in the Isolo community. 


"In Lavun collation center, Niger state thugs destroyed all the results sheets from the wards. These disruptions led to the suspension of the process in these locations. Yiaga Africa also received a report of the disruption of the collation process in Ahoada West LGA, in Rivers state. 


"The Yiaga Africa observer assigned to the center was trapped inside the collation centre with the Electoral Officer after thugs fired gunshots at the centre. Similarly, political thugs numbering about 50 attacked polling units in Warri South LGA of Delta State and disrupted the voting process as they hunted for party agents and election observers in the community. 


"In Oferekpe Igbegu ward 3 in Izzi LGA, Ebonyi State a political thug who attempted to disrupt the voting process using gunshots was apprehended and allegedly killed by security personnel. 


"Yiaga Africa received 19 confirmed reports of snatching/destruction of ballot papers. For instance, armed thugs abducted INEC officials and snatched the ballot box for Unit 1, Ward 7 in Obia/Akpor LGA of Rivers State. Thugs also destroyed ballot papers during the counting of votes in Ungogo Special Primary School in Kano. In Fagei Central Store Polling Unit in Yemaltu Deba LGA of Gombe State, thugs believed to be affiliated with APC snatched election materials. 


"In Abia state, Obingwa LGA Results Collation Centre, party agents wearing PDP tags and security agents ordered observers and other party agents (APC, Accord and APGA) to exit the collation centre. Presiding officers were also forced to alter the figures on form EC8A in favour of the PDP. In addition, the PDP agent delegated other unidentified persons to sign the result sheet on behalf of other parties after manipulating the results.


"In Tarauni LGA of Kano, Yiaga Africa observers and other observers were prevented from observing the LGA collation process by police personnel. A similar incident occurred in Okrika LGA, Rivers state, where only PDP party agents were allowed to observe the process. 


"Political thugs allegedly recruited by the LGA chairman were stationed at the entrance of the collation centre to determine access to the centers. In Gokana LGA, Rivers state, security personnel prevented all observers from observing the collation process. Only party agents for the APC, PDP & SDP were granted access to the collation center. In Otukpo, Benue state, and Ndokwa West, Delta, Yiaga Africa collation center observers were denied access to the LGA collation centre in Otukpo LGA, Benue State. 


"In Mosogar I-Sam-Ogbakpa Primary School, Mosogar, Ethiope West, Delta State, political thugs attacked the polling units and brutalised the INEC officials using cutlasses. The thugs also snatched the materials for the polling unit. 


"Also, in PU 005 of Falagai ward in Bunkure LGA, Kano state, the party agents present took advantage of the absence of security personnel to intimidate the INEC officials and voters. INEC officials suffered the same fate in Langtang South LGA Collation Center where the Chairman of the LGA reportedly intimidated the officials and other party agents. 


"Yiaga Africa received 44 reports of vote buying through cash inducement and distribution of food items. Persons believed to be mercenaries of the PDP were sighted collecting bank account details of voters to process funds transfer in exchange for votes in Polling Unit 002, in Bakura ward, Bakura LGA of Zamfara State. 


"Party agents distributed physical cash to voters in Ikenne Town Hall Polling Unit in Ward 2 in Ogun East LGA, Ogun State. In polling unit 003, Gidan Bunu Ward of Zuru LGA in Kebbi, persons wearing APC agents tags openly distributed textile clothing to women and rice while fertilizers were given to men (15 persons/bag). Agents believed to be APC agents also distributed textiles to voters in polling unit under tree (021), Gidan Alhazai ward, Wudil LGA in Kano.”