From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Lang, has expressed concerns over the spate of violence at political campaigns.
Lang, who spoke during a visit to the PDP national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, said when the electorate feel intimidated, they would not go out to vote and that would ultimately affect the credibility of the election.
She explained that the 2023 general election is important to Africa and the world at large, noting that because of that all eyes would be on the country, while the United Kingdom will be watching closely.
The high commissioner added that the UK would be watching any individual that incites or perpetrates violence, as well as political parties and security agencies.
“We have been really concerned about the recent events, 52 election violence related issues, in 22 states including an attack on the PDP convoy in Maiduguri. That is a real concern. And we want to exchange our thoughts on what you can do as a political party to ensure that the election are as peaceful as possible.
“When people feel intimidated, they can’t get out to vote, the election itself will not be credible that is why the violence is of great concern. We will also be watching closely any individual who acts violently or just, incite people. We do have the possibility of using our visas as sanction by removing Peoples rights to visit the UK.
“We will be watching closely, these apply to all the political parties, not just the parties, but security officials and any body who might be in that position.”
The PDP chairman, who was represented by the National chairman, Samuel Anyanwu, accused the All Progressives Congress ( APC) of allegedly unleashing violence on some of the opposition party campaigns.
Anyanwu said “just some few weeks back our presidential campaign team was attacked in Borno, over 70 of our members were attacked, cars destroyed, and when we make our investigations it was the APC.
“I think that is one of the issues that we are going to face in this election. You ware aware that it was the same thing we faced in Kaduna. We were attacked openly. They don’t want to allow the party to campaign. We have this issue in some of the states controlled by the APC where we put the billboard of our party and candidates they go about destroying them.
“We believe that with the BVAS which INEC is able to introduce, it is not going to be business as usual and that is why we keep praying for INEC to maintain what they have promised to Nigerians and when that is done we will find out that our party is in top gear.
“The other party is just using abusive statements which are not part of what we signed; our campaign should be issue-based. We are happy that you are always watching what is happening here.”