Electoral Violence Is On the Rise and We Need To Pay Attention

November 10, 2022

The presidential candidate for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, was attacked on November 9, 2022, while on his way to a campaign engagement in Maiduguri, Borno State. Reports say the attack was carried out by some supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who were identified by the party emblems they were carrying.  

The candidate’s supporters have been attacked before. On October 17, thugs reportedly invaded its rally in Kaduna and beat people up. In the recent Borno attack, 70 people were reportedly injured in the Borno attack, with dozens of vehicles vandalized. 

It is unclear if Atiku was harmed, but he would probably think twice before setting foot in Borno State again. 

Also recall that in October 2022, open threats were made by a member of the House of Assembly, Mohammed Gajiram, declaring the need for APC to win all their elections if it means “people being killed and buried in holes.”

In response to the death threats, a PDP representative in Borno state, Alhaji Zanna Gaddama, has openly appealed to both the Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS), the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the Inspector General of Police (IG) for help. 

What does Nigerian law say about death threats?

In Section 323 of our nation’s Criminal Code Act, there is only a punishment for the threat to kill if the threat is written. As it states, “Any person who, knowing the contents thereof, directly or indirectly causes any person to receive any writing threatening to kill any person is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for seven years.” 

However, Gajiram did break Subsection 2 of Section 92 of the Electoral Act of 2022 which states that “abusive, intemperate, slanderous or base language or insinuations or innuendoes designed or likely to provoke violent reaction or emotions shall not be employed or used in political campaigns.”

Who else has been attacked this election season? 

Even with the signing of a peace accord by all the presidential candidates, there have been signs of bad faith. This ranges from violence, intolerance, and hate speech.

Peter Obi

The Labour Party candidate has received his own share of violence. In September,  gunmen threatened Peter Obi’s supporters in Enugu, while they were holding a meeting in the Awga community. 

Four unknown gunmen suddenly showed up, shot in the air, and disrupted the meeting.  A day earlier, some members of the party were also attacked in Nenwe of the same state. 

About a week later, Obi’s supporters were again attacked in Ebonyi state. This time, some members of the Nigeria Police were identified as assailants. In a statement, the Labour Party’s National Publicity Secretary accused APC of using the police to promote violence.

In October, Obi’s supporters, known as “flag boys” were brutalized in Lagos. The flag boys were accused of carrying Peter Obi’s flags around Oshodi in Lagos. They got beaten by thugs and attempts were made to burn them alive. 

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah

In September, Ubah, was ambushed and attacked at Enugwu-Ukwu in Njikoka LGA of Anambra State. Five people were killed during this attack, including some police officers and the senator’s aides. 

Why should you care about electoral violence?

As a citizen, electoral violence goes against your right to vote for any candidate of your choice, as stated in the INEC’s Voter Education section. 

You should also be allowed to attend any rally for any candidate without the fear of being harassed. Start by holding your preferred candidate accountable to the peace accord all parties signed.









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