US says it has evidence of voter, INEC officials intimidation by army, DSS

US says it has evidence of voter, INEC officials intimidation by army, DSS

The US Government has revealed that it is in possession of evidence that Nigerian security agents, including the Department of State Services and the

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The US Government has revealed that it is in possession of evidence that Nigerian security agents, including the Department of State Services and the Nigerian Army, about the intimidation of voters, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission and even election observers during the 2019 general elections, giving the impression that the Nigerian Army worked for the success of the ruling All Progressives Congress, ThePunch is reporting.

The US further stated that the Nigerian judiciary was still susceptible to intimidation by the executive and the legislative arms of government, adding that there was corruption in the judiciary, which made it not to be able to function independently. These observations are contained in the 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Nigeria released by the US Department of State.

The 44-page report read in part, “There was evidence military and security services intimidated voters, electoral officials and election observers. In addition, violence in several states contributed to lower voter participation and added to the sentiment the army is a tool of the ruling party in many parts of the country, particularly in the South. For example, widespread violence and military involvement in electoral processes, including during the vote collation process, significantly scarred the governorship election in Rivers State. Additionally, several of INEC’s resident electoral commissioners reported DSS operatives intimidated them when the RECs attempted to protect voting materials.

“Some RECs reported security service personnel visited them multiple times prior to the elections. There were reports that corruption, including vote-buying, were historically high during the 2018-19 electoral season. Examples of vote-buying were apparent in the re-run of the Osun (State) gubernatorial election in September 2018, and during the Kano (State) gubernatorial election on March 9 (2019). According to the report, the judiciary has been unable to function optimally due to executive and legislative intimidation as well as corruption as court officials were poorly paid thereby making them susceptible to manipulation.”

The report also highlighted the high rate of human rights abuse perpetrated by security agents against journalists, rights groups and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. It stated that Buhari’s government had not taken action against any of the military officials that killed over 300 Shiites in 2015. The US explained that Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State had set up a panel of inquiry on the matter and the panel had also called for the proscription of the IMN which was done. However, the aspect of the report that indicted military officers had not been implemented