Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Thursday, condemned the killings and violence that marred local government election in Enugu State on Wednesday.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, urged security agents to go after the political thugs who reigned terror on Enugu South and Agbani council areas, killed five persons, injured others and burnt vehicles during simultaneous attacks at two polling units.
According to news reports, a source simply identified as Cyprian Nwobodo said, “About five persons were shot and killed while some people escaped with machete cuts and bullet wounds. They also burnt two vehicles belonging to community members who came to vote. I overheard from hiding the gunmen shouting that they had warned that there should no longer be elections in any part of the South-East.’’
HURIWA is appalled by the violence and bloodshed caused by obstinate troublemakers under any pretext to cause breach of peace in the state governed by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the Peoples Democratic Party.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “Electoral violence is becoming a recurring decimal in South-East and the bloodshed recorded during the Enugu council election is painfully one of too many. It is no doubt that the attack in Enugu is politically motivated to dent the image of the state government that has done so much to democratise the state and remain consistent in holding elections to elect political leaders at the local government councils in line with the constitution.
“It even leaves many to wonder especially that the violence happened only few days after one of the leading opposition political parties protested and threatened to disrupt the council election or get it nullified because the party alleged exclusion.
“HURIWA call on security agents to conduct thorough investigation on the circumstances surrounding the killings and why politicians are resorting to killings of citizens to show their displeasure with the process put in place by the electoral umpires.
“HURIWA is not accusing any specific political party of the heinous act but security agents must probe those who publicly threatened that the election won’t hold and hold them accountable for the violence that trailed the Wednesday outing. Electoral violence is becoming a signature in the South-East and security agents must stop being lame ducks. The Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigerian Navy and the Department of State Services, amongst others including Ebube Agu and vigilante groups must rise to the task of securing lives and property in the South-East with the greatest adherence to respect for the fundamental human rights of citizens and to avoid extrajudicial killings of citizens. The decimation of Ndigbo by men of ill intention must stop and the perpetrators must be crushed. We call on Igbo leaders to take far reaching actions to begin dialogues and to built the enabling environment for the restoration of lasting peace in the South East of Nigeria. We in the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA commends the Enugu State governor Right Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for taking the decision to mainstream pragmatic constitutional democracy even from the grassroots to the centre.”
“Killing of voters at polling units is barbaric, criminal, severely punishable under the law and pose tall threats to the survival of democracy. No non-state actor or state actor should be allowed to pull down the democracy fought for by our forefathers.”