A Constitutional Lawyer Dr kayoed Ajulo, has called for immediate prosecution of suspected perpetrators of electoral violence in the country.
Ajulo made the call on Wednesday in Abuja, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), against the backdrop of reported violence in Saturday’s governorship election in Kogi and Bayelsa.
According to him, we need to really face the issue of electoral violence in this country and I have been raising this for the past 20 years.
“At a time I met officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that we need to take this issue of violence during election serious even if it means criminal trial,” he said.
He said that electoral violence would continue unless there was a deterrent, saying nobody among those arrested in the past for electoral offence had faced trial.
“Crime is crime whether it is done during election, offenders must be punished, and the essence of punishment is to deter others.
“But I see that when it comes to election or electoral violence, everybody seems to be muted, this is one of the things we need to look at,” he said.
Ajulo said it was disheartening that the country found itself in such situation.
“As of today, election in Nigeria has turned to civil war in another way.
“Things have gone so bad that we are beginning to ask where lays the problem; I do not want to blame government, INEC or the police.
“Those who needed to be blamed are the practitioners, the politicians and I would not want to believe that it is party A or party B that is at fault,’’ he said.
The lawyer said it was worrisome that there appeared to be a balance of terror between the two major dominant parties in the country.
“In Nigeria today you cannot know who is winning and who is losing because both of them deploy violence and thugs during election,” he said.
He, however, said that when one party had an upper hand, then the other would be the complainant.
He said that there was no need for the creation of new law to take care of electoral offenders, adding that election had its provisions guided in the country’s laws that could deal with offenders.
“We are not bereft of which law to charge electoral offenders but the political will to do what is right,” he said.
He said that INEC should be held accountable because it had a law in its guidelines to ensure that electoral offenders were tried.
Ajulo stated that those who were killed and maimed in past elections were yet to get justice, this he said was in spite of the fact that people came out to reveal the identities of the suspected perpetrators.(NAN)