- By Safiu Kehinde
The United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria has expressed worries over unending inflammatory comments being made by political leaders and their followers saying such are capable stoking crisis.
The UK Mission, in a statement released Wednesday evening, said its officials observed the just concluded elections and found irregular conducts. The statement also advised aggrieved contestants to go through the legal process to register their displeasure and not through any unconstitutional means.
Though the Mission commended the improvement in logistics and effectiveness of BVAS machine and the IREV portal during the gubernatorial election, it, however, frowned at rate of violence targeted at disenfranchising voters as well as ballot box snatching across several states of the federation.
The statement read in part, “there were notable points of concern. Members of our observation mission personally observed violence, and voter suppression in numerous voting locations. We witnessed and received credible reports from other observer missions and civil society organisations of vote buying and voter intimidation, the destruction and hijacking of election materials and the general disruption of the process in numerous states including Lagos, Enugu and Rivers.”
Furthermore, the Mission condemned attacks on journalists as it stressed in the need to respect free speech and freedom of the Press.
Meanwhile, the Mission revealed that investigation is under way to bring perpetrators of election violence and anti-democratic behavior into book with a possible denial of those found wanting UK Visa as stated last month by UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell.
“The UK Minister of State for Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, said on 21 February, that the UK is prepared to take action against those who engage in or incite electoral violence and other anti-democratic behaviours, and action could include preventing people from obtaining UK visas or imposing sanctions under our human rights sanctions regime. We can confirm that we are collating relevant information, with a view to taking action against some individuals.” The statement read further.