March 18 Election: Fresh Concerns of Voter Inducement Recorded in Benue, Yobe, Akwa Ibom Ahead of Polls
FCT, Abuja - Ahead of the 2023 gubernatorial polls, foremost election observer group Yiaga Africa has confirmed cases of voter inducement in Akwa Ibom state, Yobe state and Benue state.
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This development was made known on Thursday, March 16, at a pre-election press briefing of Yiaga Africa attended by Legit.ng at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja.
While reeling out the pre-election report, Yiaga Africa's board member, Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, said its field observers deployed across the federation revealed a series of voter inducements activities in the form of gift items, wired money transfers by politicians and a host of others.
"Yiaga Africa received reports of the distribution of money and food items by supporters of the APC in Mbakyaa Mbachougul, Tarka LGA, Benue State.
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"The APC and PDP representatives were seen collecting voters' bank account details in Damaturu and Potiskum LGAs in Yobe State, to make wire transfers ahead of the elections.
"From Akwa Ibom, Yiaga Africa also received reports that the PDP youths in Ibeno LGA were given a cash inducement of N1,000,000 after they had endorsed a candidate on Sunday, March 12, 2023."
In its pre-election findings about the readiness of the bimodal voter accreditation systems (BVAS) for the gubernatorial polls, it was gathered that there were 22 BVAS uncounted for or missing in Rivers state while three others have been damaged.
Elsewhere in Oyo state, the situation was different as Yiaga Africa's report revealed that 406 BVAS were received as a backup..
"Yiaga Africa received reports from across the states that the Commission reconfigured a substantial number of Bimodal Voter Accreditation Systems ahead of the Saturday polls. Some states like Oyo reported receipt of additional 406 BVAS as a backup.
"As of 15 March 2023, Yiaga Africa received reports from Rivers state that there were 22 BVAS uncounted for or missing and 3 damaged BVAS."
It was gathered that the European Union supported the pre-election observation through its Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN).