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Commonwealth Group preaches against post-election violence

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

The Commonwealth Observer Group has called on Nigerians to remain peaceful as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) continues the collation and announcement of results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Mr Thabo Mbeki, the Chairperson of the Group and former President of South Africa, made the call in Abuja on Monday while delivering the interim report of the Group.

He noted that the Commonwealth had deployed its observer team to the six geo-political zones of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Mbeki said that in spite of the largely peaceful elections, the group observed incidences of election-related violence and insecurity in some states.

“We note incidences of election-related violence and insecurity, some of which regrettably resulted in the loss of life and postponement of elections in some polling units.

“We also observed that these elections took place amidst a Naira demonetisation policy and fuel scarcity.

“This notwithstanding, we observed that Election Day proceeded largely peaceful. The determination, patience and resilience of all those Nigerians who turned out to vote in these elections are to be highly commended,” he said.

Mbeki, however appealed to Nigerians and politicians to ensure peace and calm as INEC continues the collation process.

“As the results process continues, let me reiterate the desire that all Nigerians, especially the candidates who contested the elections, continue to uphold their pre-election commitment to peace.

“The group strongly encourages all Nigerians to exercise patience to allow INEC and its staff across the country to conclude the results process effectively and peacefully,” he said.

He said that notwithstanding the shortcomings observed, the elections were largely peaceful while stressing the need for the collation and announcement of results to be conducted transparently.

“We call on all those with grievances to address disputes through prescribed legal channels. The time now is for restraint and continued patience as we await the final results,” he said.

Mbeki said that the final report, full findings and detailed recommendations would be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General at the end of the process.

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