NIGERIA – The international community has expressed concern over the conduct and conditions under which Saturday’s governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States were held.
A joint statement on Saturday noted that The Diplomatic Watch, which comprises Austria, the European Union Delegation, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States deployed teams to monitor the two states.
It raised the alarm at reports of widespread of violence and intimidation, some of which were witnessed by their teams in Kogi.
“There are reports of fatalities and people missing, including INEC staff. Our thoughts are with all victims and their families,” the countries said.
“We encourage all stakeholders, in particular political leaders, to call for calm and we encourage security agencies to investigate thoroughly and bring perpetrators to justice.
“We are also concerned by evident vote buying and credible reports of ballot box snatching in both Bayelsa and Kogi.
“We commend the commitment and resilience of voters in both states who came out to exercise their democratic rights.
“We express our sympathy for those affected by the violence, including ordinary voters; INEC officials; members of the NYSC; civil society; and the media.
“All should be able to carry out their fundamental role in the democratic process free from intimidation and harassment. As long-standing friends, we have been present at every major election in Nigeria since 1999.
“We remain committed to working impartially with Nigerian authorities, INEC in particular, as well as civil society to consolidate and deepen democracy.”