Home » POLITICS » Surge in pre-election violence sends panic across Nigeria

The Goodluck Jonathan campaign office set ablaze during political clashes between PDP and ACN supporters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom. Photo Credit: Vanguard

By Nigerians Abroad staff writer

Increase in pre-election violence across Nigeria as the country’s prepares for its crucial general election slated for April, has send wave of panic and concerns across the country and among international organizations.

Amnesty International has expressed extreme concerns over governments and security agencies failure to protect lives and properties of many innocent Nigerians that have become victims of political violence in recent time.

The organization’s Africa Deputy Director Tawanda Hondora indicts the Nigerian authorities over their failure to checkmate sectarian and communal violence  - blames on politicians fro the ruling  and opposition parties - that have claimed hundreds of lives since the beginning of the year.

“The Nigerian authorities must act to protect people’s lives and all political candidates should denounce violence and tell their supporters to campaign peacefully.

“Candidates should tell voters what they will do to stop the senseless killings and improve security and justice in Nigeria. The Presidential debate scheduled for today is an excellent opportunity to make such a commitment,” Hondora said.

Earlier in the week more than a dozen deaths were recorded and properties worth millions of naira were loss in different parts of the country - Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun and Benue - when political rivals engaged in superiority fight.

In Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, supporters of Governor Godswill Akpabio of the People Democratic Party (PDP) and his rival Senator Udoedehe of  the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) traded blames on recurrent attack that have resulted in the death of two party loyalists and the burning of government properties that include 500 brand new tricycles and 200 cars.

Nigeria will be going to the poll in about 2 weeks and political watchers fear that with increased violence and intimidation, many voters might be disenfranchised from carrying out their civic duty.

“When people feel they are not protected by the state, that the police will not be there  to protect their lives and properties, you get the situation where people loose confidence in their government to look after them. That’s when you get to see community resulting to self help, self arming, vigilante groups and taking justice into their own hands, ” says  Lucy Freeman, Nigeria campaigner for Amnesty International.

Although, Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan - also the ruling party’s candidate in the general election - has promised a free and fair election, doubts remain over the president’s ability to command effective security measures across Nigeria’s diverse political landscape.

The ruling party is faced with threat of major opposition parties growing popularity and possible upset in the April poll.

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