The Senate on Tuesday unanimously condemned electoral violence, particularly killings in the Kogi and Bayelsa states’ elections, following consideration of two motions during the plenary.
The upper chamber, while calling on the Inspector-General of Police to arrest and prosecute the killers of the Women Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Kogi State, Mrs. Salome Abu, held a minute silence in honour of the deceased.
In one of the motions titled “Curbing Electoral Violence”, its sponsor, Senator George Thompson Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East), quoting the National Human Rights Commission said about 58 people were killed in 61 incidents of election violence across 22 states in the country between January and February, 2015.
He observed that political thuggery increased in 2019 compared to previous elections, adding that privileged politicians use either armed thugs or security agents to disrupt smooth electioneering process.
According to him, the recent violence witnessed during and after the elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States has called to question the credibility of the electoral process in Nigeria.
Sekibo said that “the resultant effect of the electoral mayhem would reduce the credibility of our electoral process and deepen hatred as well as widen the gap of our unity”.
He added, “The country’s electoral management body is not strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted by the political system and the electoral misconducts that accompany it continue to threaten the deepening of democratization process.
“This negative effect of electoral violence in the country would continue to reduce the citizens’ confidence in the Democratic process as well as heighten the fears of possible democratic collapse.”
In another motion titled “2019 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women”, sponsored by Senator Oluremi Tinubu (APC, Lagos Central), the lawmaker said “violence against women and girls is the most pervasive human right violation.”
According to her, there was no justification whatsoever for acts of violence such as rape against women.
The lawmaker condemned the recent killing of Mrs. Salome Abu, the death of Ochanya Elizabeth Ogbanje, a 13 year old who died as a result of sexual violence and rape, and BBC sex for grade saga.
She lamented that cases of violence against women and minors reached an all-time-high in the year 2019.
“The recent slave camps discovered in Kano, Oyo and Kaduna states where young boys are held as slaves and constantly raped by those who were meant to take care of them show that our women, minors both male and female are no longer safe in our communities, homes, schools, worship places,” Tinubu said.
The lawmaker added that the launch of the Sexual Offenders Register by concerned stakeholders is a major step against the menace that has bedeviled the nation.
The Sexual Offenders Register is a data base of all sexual offenders categorized as those who have been convicted and those linked with sexual offences.
Accordingly, the Senate urged States yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (2003) and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP 2015) to do so for the socio-economic development of their respective states.
The upper chamber also felicitated with Nigerian Women on this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.