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2023: US bodies worried IPOB, Amotekun, Ebubeagu are recipes for post election violence

  • Politics

Concerned about the actions of separatist organizations and unofficial security forces in the South-East and South-West, a delegation from two American-based institutes have warned that these developments could pave the way for post-election unrest in 2023.

The National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute were the organizations that issued the alert, on Friday, after a delegation met with journalists at a conference in Abuja.

They contended that the proliferation of regional security forces, such as Amotekun in the South-West and Ebube Agu in the South-East, would increase the likelihood of election violence while the secessionist activity by the Indigenous People of Biafra might have an adverse effect on voter turnout due to apathy.

The evaluation that took place from December 4 to December 9, 2022, was built upon the findings of the initial assessment mission that visited Nigeria in July 2022.

Ambassador Michelle Gavin, Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, Judge Dhaya Pillay, Commissioner at the Electoral Commission of South Africa, and Ellen Dingani, Director of Programs at the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, were also members of the delegation.

Gregory Kearns, Director of IRI for Africa, and Dr. Sophia Moestrup, Deputy Director of NDI for Central and West Africa, were also present.

READ ALSO:Tony Blair institute identifies Boko Haram, IPOB, bandits as major threats to 2023 elections

They noted that insecurity caused by extremist and sectarian violence, banditry, the emergence of separatist groups, and the growth of informal security forces was a significant issue affecting the majority of the country.

They also claimed that over the past year, election-related violence in Nigeria had dramatically grown in addition to attacks by numerous violent armed groups.

According to the organizations, there was more election violence in 2022 than there had been in the same period leading up to the 2019 elections.

Despite the majority of presidential candidates signing the first peace agreement facilitated by the National Peace Committee, they claimed that at least 50 reported instances of electoral violence had taken place across 40 local government areas in 24 states, despite the fact that most of them had signed the agreement.

The institutes noted that if the security issues were not resolved, they could have a negative effect on the elections’ credibility and raise the possibility of post-election unrest.

The report reads, “The delegation notes consensus among stakeholders that insecurity is the primary risk factor for the 2023 elections. Nigeria is facing record levels of insecurity in 2022 and conflict has become more geographically widespread and more complex.

“Increasing banditry and attacks by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province in the North East and North West threaten to undermine logistics and strain capacity to secure elections. The continuing conflict between herder militias and farming communities drives displacement and exacerbates sectarian tensions in states that are likely to be key electoral battlegrounds.

“Secessionist agitation by IPOB/Eastern Security Network in the South East threatens to depress voter turnout. If the election is perceived to be illegitimate, the group could gain significant traction, and potentially become directly involved in post-election violence.

“The proliferation of informal security elements – such as Amotekun in the South West and Ebube Agu in the South East – further complicates security and increases opportunities for election violence and malfeasance.”

Source: Ripples Nigeria