- Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority says it is determined to partner with security agencies to clamp down on electoral violence
- The people of Ogoni and strangers among them have been warned not engage in, or sponsor violence; whether as thugs, agents or politicians in the coming elections
- Anyone who tries to fuel election crises in Ogoniland will be dealt with, the group warnedd
Dr Goodluck Diigbo, president, Ogoni Central Indigenous Authority (OCIA), says the group is determined to partner with security agencies to clamp down on violence in the forthcoming general elections.
OCIA is a leading civil society group pioneering the autonomy of the Ogoni people.
Diigbo urged residents and politicians in Ogoni land to shun electoral violence.
“Ogonis or strangers among us, must not engage in, or sponsor violence; whether as thugs, agents or politicians in this year’s elections.
“Anyone who tries to fuel election crises in Ogoniland will pay a very heavy price; if not on the spot; then, after the Election Day because the law must take its toll on them,” Diigbo said in a statement by the group’s public affairs director, Tambari Deekor.
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Diigbo said that as part of proactive steps toward peaceful elections in the area, the group on January 4, inaugurated the Ogoni Peaceful Election Commission, headed by its Provincial Governor, Ms Gift Nwikina.
He said that the initiative became necessary to ensure that the forthcoming elections would be peaceful as against the experience of repeated bloodshed in parts of Ogoniland during previous elections.
He condemned attacks on the group during the last stage of its sensitisation tour to Ban Ogoi area in Tai local government area.
“It’s so sad that such laudable initiative aimed at ensuring peaceful electoral process could be sabotaged by unknown hoodlums who attacked members, carting away with their personal belongings, cash and phones.
“Sad still is the fact that a septuagenarian, a retired educationist, who is now the leader of the Ogoni National Legislative Assembly, Mr Ledee Wiko, was also a victim of the attack.
“Although no life was lost during the attack, positive efforts by some traditional rulers and leaders of the OCIA also tracked down the attackers recovering some of the belongings except cash.
“This attack has shown the negative intention of some haters of peace in our land, that’s why I appeal to the security agencies to redouble efforts as we are set to collaborate with them to achieve peaceful elections in Ogoniland,” OCIA president said.
Diigbo, however, said the Nigeria’s security operatives when contacted in Bori, the Ogoni capital, and others stationed in Tai LGA, identified the attackers as groups involved in a conflict earlier witnessed in the area.
He added that the attack had no political undertone.
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He said the Ogoni Peaceful Election Commission was within the context that citizens had the right to chose in an election and the right to peace and safety while exercising their franchise.
Legit.ng previously reported that a civil society organisation, Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES), has launched a campaign against violence as Nigeria prepares for the 2019 general elections scheduled for February 16 and March 2.
The campaign tagged 'I Stand 4 Peace' is geared towards raising awareness that will engender peace, before, during and after elections.
Speaking at a press briefing/media launch of the campaign on Monday, January 21, Oche-Precious Edeh, the convener of the group, said YES will collaborate with other groups to embark on campaign tour of the country during the campaign.
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