The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria has rubbished reports of wrongdoing by the Nigerian Army during the last general elections.
According to the group, the military’s uncompromising stance led to the near-flawless nature of the polls.
The group made this known in a report signed by National Coordinator Maxwell Gowon after examining the gallant troops’ involvement in the entire electoral process.
Read full report below.
COALITION OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND CONFLICT RESOLUTIONS IN NIGERIA
A report of an investigative committee set up by a Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria to identify the role of the government and other critical stakeholders in the conduct of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria in a bid to put to rest the various allegations of complicity by the government and the relevant security agencies during the 2019 general elections undertook extensive research in six states namely, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Nasarawa. Katsina and Zamfara.
Our team of researchers interacted with community leaders, political leaders at ward levels, clergy’s, as well as a segment of the voting population to gather responses on the level of involvement of the security agencies in the conduct of the gubernatorial and presidential elections in the state.
The choice of these states was necessitated by the fact that these states experienced some level of electoral violence that resulted in the deaths of persons. In some quarters, the security agencies were also accused of joining forces with the All Progressive Congress (APC) in rigging the elections.
Consequently, the Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria set up a special investigative committee to physically visit these states for first-hand information that culminated in this report. Furthermore, the findings from the report indicated that the claims of human rights violations were not factual, and also the claims that agents of government were used to intimidate voters were based on illogical conclusions. The findings from the research also indicated that the security agencies indeed rose to the occasion to ensure the peaceful conduct of the polls.
The 2019 General Elections in Nigeria:
The 2019 general elections in Nigeria came with its attendant security challenges. There was a pocket of violence in some states such as Kano, Rivers, Zamfara, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Katsina states. This is despite the commencement of Operation Python Dance II by the Nigerian Army and the establishment of the Situation Room by the Nigerian Army to monitor elections online and real-time.
These interventions were noble and were able to curtail the excesses of political thugs and those with the intent of undermining the electoral system. Our team of researchers upon interaction with community leaders in whose domain skirmishes were recorded, they were filled with gratitude for the Nigerian Army, whose officers and men indeed saved the situation from deteriorating through their timely intervention.
In Rivers state, our team of researcher upon close interaction with locals blamed the violence the erupted in some parts of the state on the activities of political thugs who were armed by political actors in a bid to ensure that the elections go in their favour. On particular interest was in Obi-Akpor Local Government Area. Our researcher visited the 17 wards and communities that constitute the local government area and revelations were abound on how a particular political heavyweight from that area distributed guns and other dangerous weapons to scores of jobless youths for use on election day.
The much was corroborated by the community leaders who were saddened by the way, and manner politicians have continued to use the youths for their evil agenda.
They were full of praises for the intervention of the Nigerian Army that helped in bringing the calming the situation and ensuring that things do not escalate. Some of those interviewed also questioned the role of the state government in instigating violence and attempting to pitch the people against the Nigerian Army in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Our team of researchers upon interaction with other relevant stakeholders were able to establish that the Nigerian Army acting in line with global best practices was able to reduce human casualties.
Kano and Kaduna States:
In states like Kano and Kaduna, our team of researchers gathered responses from Kano Municipal as well as Kaduna Metropolis. There was unionism in the responses gathered from these areas, and all pointed to the fact that but for the intervention of the Nigerian Army in the security apparatus during the elections, saved the country of unprecedented electoral violence.
In Zamfara state, our team of researchers was confronted with a unique challenge that entailed that the services of the Nigerian Army were secured in an attempt to access some of the areas that experienced violence during the elections. Locals that were interacted with submitted that the operations of the Nigerian Army were indeed strict and devoid of partisanship.
The claims that the Nigerian Army was complicit could not be established in Zamfara state. Instead, it was realized that the Nigerian Army opened hotlines for easy access by the locals in all the local government areas.
In Katsina state, there was no concrete evidence that suggests that the Nigerian military was partisan or it failed in the discharge of its responsibility, which is essentially the maintenance of law and order. This much was confirmed by community leaders in whose domain they recorded some form of electoral violence.
The case of Nasarawa was not different from Katsina as all, and sundry appreciated the efforts of the Nigerian Army. Our team of researchers was able to identify that the Nigerian Army exhibited a high sense of professionalism in the conduct of their business in the face of provocation.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria upon completion of the tour of six states and communities that witnessed electoral skirmishes it, therefore, concludes the following:
The allegations of partisanship against the Nigerian Army could not be substantiated and thus existed as a mere figment of imagination.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria could not establish cases of human rights abuses against the Nigerian Army in the six states it visited.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria has interacted with members of the host communities identified that the news making rounds on the complicity of the Nigerian Army in undermining the credibility of the electoral process were fabricated with no evidence to substantiate the claims.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria.states that it was satisfied with the human rights compliance of the Nigerian Army, before, during, and after the 2019 general elections in Nigeria
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria. also states that from reports garnered from the fieldwork, the Nigerian Army indeed stood on the side of the people in protecting our nascent democracy.
The Coalition of Civil Society on Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Nigeria.commends the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai for providing that valuable leadership in the course of the 2019 general elections in Nigeria.