Participants at a one-day post-election dialogue on the Nov. 16 governorship election in Kogi State have called for the arrest and prosecution of all perpetrators of violence during the election.
The participants who made the call in a communique issued in Lokoja on Friday said this had become necessary to serve as a deterrent and to prevent violence in future elections.
“The level of violence experienced during the election was unprecedented in the history of elections in Kogi state and perpetrators must be made to face justice,” it said
The post-election dialogue organised by Hands Across Africa Development Initiative with the support of Search For Common Ground was held at Adankolo community in Lokoja where three persons were killed during the election.
The communique was signed by Etsu of Adankolo, Chief David Agbayi and Mr Umar Dan Asabe , Executive Director, Hands Across Africa Development Initiative.
Present at the dialogue were the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) represented by Mr Usman Alkali, the DPO, A Division Lokoja, the Independent National Electoral commission (INEC) represented by its HOD, Voter education and Publicity, Alhaji Ahmed Biambo, civil society organisations, community and religious leaders, representatives of women and youth groups
“Lives and properties were lost during the violence which has left many communities in pains, sorrow and has caused hatred among communities and citizens,” the participants said.
They sympathised with the families and friends of the people killed during the election, urging the Federal and state governments to immediately initiate a process of healing and reconciliation of communities and citizens affected by the violence.
They condemned the security architecture put in place on the day of the election, describing it as poor and inadequate.
According to them, there is
need for the Nigerian Police and other security agencies to do a post -mortem on the actions and inactions of their personnel on the election day
with a view to improving their participation in future elections.
They stressed the need to allow security personnel on election duty to be provided with the adequate equipment, especially capacity and non-lethal weapons to enable them to promptly deal with electoral violence.
It commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for embarking on massive voter education and for including the civil society groups, media and other critical stakeholders in all preparations for the election.
However, the communique,
urged the commission to immediately embark on confidence building measures to win back distraught voters.
“There is need for engagement with politicians at the community levels to ensure violence -free elections in future ,” the communique said.