Senate to criminalise electoral violence

The Leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi, has hinted that the red chamber would come up with a bill that would prescribe punishments for those who engage in electoral violence.
Abdullahi stated this on Tuesday while contributing to a motion moved by Senator George Sekibo, on the violence that rocked the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States recently.

He stressed the need for the two main political parties in the Senate to work together and save the nation’s electoral process.

The Senate Leader said, “It is important if the Minority Leader and myself can come up with a bipartisan bill to look at the punishments for electoral violence.

“Let us see how we can raise a law to effectively tackle electoral violence because electoral violence knows no partisanship. All politicians on all sides are guilty.

“Electoral violence started from the beginning of our democratic journey in 1999 but it’s getting worse by the day.

“There were pockets of violence in other republics but they were not as terrible as what we have today.

“If we don’t curb this phenomenon, it’s going to be dangerous for our country,” he added.

He admitted that the issue of electoral violence has been happening for a long time since the emergence of this republic in 1999.

He said, “The spectre of violence and its attendant consequences is one of the unhealthiest events in the country.

“I believe that all politicians irrespective of the various parties we belong to have a responsibility to address and to curb, otherwise we will all become victims.

“So, there is a need for us to urge the security agencies to really do their jobs.
“They should arrest and bring to book the perpetrators of the dastardly acts, who are known.”

The Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, lamented that security agencies have not successfully prosecuted the perpetrators of electoral violence.

He said, “People have been known and seen to perpetuate violence and nothing has been done to them.

“Once nothing is done to somebody, once nobody pays the price for criminality of this nature, it only creates further violence.

“The law enforcement agencies must be up to task.

“The husband of the woman that was killed in Kogi State has identified those who killed his wife but till today, nothing has been done to them.

“We have been hearing all manner of excuses and there is now a pattern.
“If you don’t curb it through the use of enforcement, you will only see that pattern continue to grow.”

He explained that resorting to violence at every point can never be countenanced by any democrat.

The senate consequently, condemned the spate of election-related violence in the country.

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