Kimpact Development Initiative (KDI), under the Nigeria Election Violence Report (NEVR), has said that the 2019 Bayelsa State Governorship Election held on the 16th November was marred by violence with 5 people reported dead.
In a press statement signed by the Coordinator, NEVR Bayelsa State, Bukola Idowu, intimidation of voters, carting away and destruction of election materials most especially ballot papers, disruption by political thugs and vote-buying characterised the exercise.
“On Saturday, 16th November, 2019, Kimpact NEVR Bayelsa Election Situation Room received reports from the 8 LGAs of Bayelsa State ranging from Violence (Death, Intimidation of Voters, Carting away and destruction of election materials most especially ballot papers, Disruption by Political Thugs and Kidnapping) to Potential Violence (Late Commencement, Vote Buying, and Security Conduct).
“Reports got showed that there was late commencement of polls in most polling units (PUs) across Bayelsa State. Delay in the opening of polls was obvious in Ward 5 in Yenagoa, distribution of election materials from Registration Area Centre (RAC) did not start till 11 am, this led to a protest where protesters who were mostly women were chanting “No Election in Ward 5”.
“The dominant nature and widespread vote-buying, and inducement look like a menace that has no regards for all antidotes. Agents of political parties were distributing money ranging from N2000 to N3000.
“With sorrow of heart, Kimpact confirmed that five (5) Nigerians died in Bayelsa State as a result of pre-election violence in Nembe LGA and two (2) persons in Yenagoa during the course of electoral violence on Saturday 16th November 2019 in Bayelsa State.”
in Yenagoa, Ekeremor and Southern Ijaw LGAs of Bayelsa State was branded with the report of ballot box snatching and destruction, voter intimidation, and abuse of the electoral process. In Opolo Town Hall, Epie II Ozyi Polling Unit in Yenagoa LGA, a report was received of a domestic observer that was beaten, one person was cut with sharp objects and many others scrambled for safety. In Okunu Townhall in Yenagoa, party agents disrupted the voting process,” the statement reads.
KDI condemned the cases of violence recorded in the exercise while calling for the swift prosecution of electoral offenders.