Reacting to the spate of violence that has rocked some parts of the country since the evening of Sunday, April 17, 2011, the anti-poverty agency warned that “the Nigeria political class has to realise that it cannot continue to waste the lives of the people it seeks to lead”.
In a statement issued by the organisation, it described recent occurrence of violence as “reprehensible”, calling on all politicians to “find means of appealing to their supporters to maintain peace”.
Noting that while some notable members of the society may have lost some property, that the poor and helpless citizen are usually the ones mostly affected by violent situations as this, the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Dr. Hussaini Abdu called on the contestants in last week presidential election to “find ways of dousing the tension in the country”.
Abdu in an earlier press statement before the commencement of elections had advised that “at this point in the life of the country, it is our belief that the political class should by its conduct build a new politics that is devoid of rancour, ethnic or religious coloration, desperation and violence.
Democratic contest should rather be characterised by exchange of ideas, healthy political rivalry and a genuine commitment by politicians to work towards the one goal of eradicating poverty and placing Nigeria on the path to genuine greatness and nationhood.”
The organisation stated that “the poor, marginalised and vulnerable who ordinarily should be protected by the politicians are the ones often at the receiving end of the effect of chaos in the land, with attendant loss of lives and livelihoods; economic dislocation which has deepened poverty where they occur”
The organisation commends INEC for its efforts at achieving a free and fair election, and encourage politicians and supporters of different political parties to seek acceptable means to seek redress where there are evidences of rigging in the elections so that violence can be avoided at all levels. Politicians and political parties who feel aggrieved with the process should employ legal means to address their various grievances.
ActionAid calls on all security agencies to put in place the necessary structures to guarantee the safety of lives and properties and ensure that all those who are found culpable in fomenting violence during the period are brought to book to serve as deterrent to others.