Nigeria: 2019 Polls - 70 CSOs Demand Worldwide Visa Ban for Election Riggers

(file photo).
30 July 2019

Abuja — A coalition of 70 Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, in the country, on Wednesday, called for world wide visa restrictions for those that were involved in rigging of the 2019 general elections.

The group, which operates on the platform of Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, said there was need for other countries to follow the example that was recently set by the United States of America, saying it would help to sanitise the electoral process in Nigeria.

The CSOs took the position in a final report they issued with regards to the last general elections.

In the report, which was presented to newsmen by convener of the CSOs and Executive Director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC, Mr. Clement Nwankwo, it concluded that the elections failed to meet the threshold for a credible poll, saying it posed serious serious questions about the future of elections and quality of democracy in Nigeria.

"On a positive note however, Situation Room stated that the election was one in which citizens were determined and mobilised to exercise their votes, including marginalised groups such as women, persons with disabilities (PWDs), young people, etc.

"This positive excitement was truncated by the unexpected postponement of elections from the initial dates set", Nwankwo stated.

He said the group deployed observers to all the six geopolitical zones in the country during the elections.

As part of its recommendations, the CSOs, called for an independent inquiry into the poor management of the electoral process by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

"Nigeria's election continues to be very expensive, the budget for the 2019 elections was N242.4billion. This cost is not sustainable, it is important to open up national conversation on how to achieve sustainable costs for the conduct of elections in Nigeria".

Aside decrying the multiplicity of political parties, the CSOs said there was need to interrogate the failure of Smart Card Readers in identified polling units.

"Following its findings from the independent enquiry, INEC should overhaul its processes and systems for procurement and logistics for elections.

"Situation Room calls for collaboration between election stakeholders and civil society organizations in Nigeria and the international community to bring to account persons who subvert the electoral process as a result of their actions and activities.

"Recent decision by the US government announcing visa bans against persons infringing the electoral process and subverting the people's vote is commendable.

"There is a need for a worldwide adoption of the principle of visa restrictions against such persons. Situation Room calls on other countries to follow the United States example", the report added.

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