ABUJA – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Abuja Operations Office, has said in Abuja that the consequences of post-election violence are worse than the effect of HIV/AIDs.
Mr Ishaya Chonoko, the Coordinator of the office, said this at a sensitisation programme on election violence organised by his office.
Chonoko said that pre-election and post-election violence was a common feature in African politics because politicians and their supporters see politics as a “do or die” affair and as such, all manner of intimidation were explored by politicians to gain advantage over their opponents.
Chonoko said that arms buildup and proliferation in the country was frightening to even the hardened minds.
“Elections in recent times are akin to war preparation with opponents stockpiling arms; political killing is fast becoming one of the highest in the sub-region.
“If you recall what happened in the 2011 post-election violence, we witnessed a situation where some party people who were not satisfied with the results resorted to violence.
“So by way of inference, HIV/AIDS does not even kill people that fast because the virus would have to gain entrance into one’s body, then gradually weaken the immune system before it kills.
“But for political violence, it destroys faster because of the weapons used; it is one bullet one person.’’
Chonoko said that NEMA, in partnership with critical stakeholders in election security, produced the Nigerian Election Risk Preparedness and Contingency plan having conducted a risk assessment on previous events.
He said that the assessment identified 20 states as flashpoints due to their past history and skirmishes which characterised the current electioneering campaigns.
Chonoko said that the situation had become worrisome as the country is about to conduct one of the most keenly contested elections in recent history.
He said it was imperative for all critical stakeholders and major players in the 2015 general elections to exercise restraint in the conduct of their affairs in the interest of peace and mutual co-existence.
Also speaking, Alhaji Abbas Idris, the Director, FCT Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), stated that the 2011 post-election violence was an avoidable loss.
Idris said till date, thousands of victims had yet to recover their means of livelihood, while compensations were still being paid.
He expressed concern that recent developments trailing the 2015 political campaigns across the country amid other security challenges showed that the country was heading towards a similar direction.