Hate Speech & Others; Warning Signs – YIAGA

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The Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) has said that violence, hate speech, and voter inducement are pointers of impending challenges to be seen during the 2019 general elections.

YIAGA said it observed this trend in different states sequel to its pre-election observation report titled, “How prepared is Nigeria for the 2019 elections?” under Watching the Vote (WTV) project.

This report according to YIAGA was embarked upon between November 9 and November 22 based on 1,563 reports received from its observers.

According to YIAGA, this is one out of six reports it will issue to show its findings in the pre-election period leading up to the general election in 2019.

“WTV LTOs reported on incidents of violence in their various LGAs across the country and tracked potential early warning signs of violence including hate speech, physical and verbal violence, large movement of people into and out of LGA, vandalism and recruitment of thugs.

“A total of 47 critical incident reports have been received and confirmed within the period. These reports include incidences of hate speech, attack on rallies, fighting between communities, attack against election officials, attacks against candidates or their supporters, attack against observers, brutality by security agents, voters’ inducement and vandalism or destruction of properties belonging to their candidates or their supporters.”

This report revealed that the early warning signs were seen in reports received from local government areas in Kogi, Kwara, Bauchi, Borno, Nasarawa, Kano, Taraba, Yobe, Jigawa, Kano, Rivers, Ekiti and Lagos.

The report was grouped into three: hate speech, violence and voter inducement, noting the states where each is prevalent.

Hate speech was observed in Kogi, Kwara, Taraba, and Nasarawa State; violence in Kogi, Kwara, Kano Kebbi, Lagos, Taraba, Rivers, Jigawa, Sokoto, and Borno; voter inducement in Kwara, Taraba, and Rivers.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was however applauded by the groupfor some of its remarkabledeeds such as the display of voter register, distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), voter education which is said to be directedto women, youth and People with Disabilities (PDW).

YIAGA also suggested that INEC and other organizations continue to educate the citizens on the importance of their votes, INEC’s timetable, the electoral process and PVCs collection.

It also urged security agencies to partner with CSOs monitoring violence for effective violence response system, remain neutral throughout the electoral process and bring offenders of violence to book.

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