JUST IN: Yiaga Africa Raises Alarm Over Weapons Proliferation In Rivers, Vote Buying Plans Of APC, PDP Ahead Of Guber Polls
A Nigerian civic hub, Yiaga Africa, says its governorship pre-election findings showed weapons proliferation in several Local Government Areas of Rivers state.
One of the board members of the group’s ‘Watching The Vote’, Chief Ezenwa Nwagu revealed this at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja.
The group also said that in parts of Benue, Yobe and Akwa Ibom states, supporters of the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic party were found engaging in voter inducement through wired money transfer, distribution of gifts and cash inducement of as high as N1 million.
“The pre-election period has recorded relative calm since the February 25 election with no major reports of insecurity. In addition, Yiaga Africa received troubling reports about proliferation of light arms and small weapons in Abua-Odual, Andoni, Akuku Toru, Asari Toru, Eleme, Gokana, Khana and Tai LGAs in Rivers state.
“As citizens mobilisation efforts intensify ahead of the elections, Yiaga Africa has received reports of voter inducement through distribution of gift items and wire (money) transfers by the political actors.
“Specifically, Yiaga Africa received reports of the distribution of money and food items by supporters of the APC in Mbakyaa Mbachougul, Tarka LGA, Benue State.
“The APC and PDP representatives were seen collecting voter’s bank account details in Damaturu and Potiskum LGAs in Yobe state, to make wire transfers ahead of the elections.
“From Akwa Ibom, Yiaga Africa also received reports that the PDP youths in Ibeno LGA were given a cash inducement of N1 million after they had endorsed a candidate on Sunday, March, 12, 2023,” he said.
Recalling developments around the February 25 presidential and national assembly elections, Yiaga Africa observed the late commencement of polls, deployment of insufficient election materials as well as no election in some polling units, including failure to electronically transmit results real-time from polling units.
It advised the Independent National Electoral Commission to address the issues before the polls.
The firm also predicted that if the lingering naira scarcity persists as was experienced in last poll, INEC “may experience further logistics challenges which will no doubt impact the quality of the process.”
Nwagu maintained that while INEC has the exclusive reserve of announcing election results, it will verify the declared results with its own data gotten from its observers across the nation.