Conflict Research Network, West Africa, CORN West Africa, has raised an alarm that terrorism may threaten the conduct of the 2023 elections in the Northeast geo-political zone.
The research group made this disclosure on Tuesday.
The new revelation was part of the recommendations at a colloquium webinar themed, “Nigeria Decides 2023: Conducting Elections in Context of Political Violence and State Fragility,” organised by the group.
The group while advising the federal government and security agencies to tackle insecurity in the zone insisted that except a proactive, context-specific security plan is designed for the zone, terrorism may affect the conduct of elections in the zone.
Dr Babayo Sule of the Department of International Relations, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State, speaking on the topic, “Election Amid Terror: Terrorism and the 2023 Elections in Nigeria’s North East,” stated that improved security of lives and properties before the elections in the northeast will encourage people to come out to vote.
He further opined that elections may not hold in areas under the control of terror groups in the northeast except counter-terrorism campaign is stepped up to clear the way.
He added that many areas in the northeast remain inaccessible.
He spoke further by adding that several people have been internally displaced which will impact on their participation in the elections.
He said there is a need to “significantly reduce the areas that are under the control and influence of Boko Haram before the 2023 general elections.”
According to him: “Extra security personnel should be deployed to ensure the safety of lives, properties, INEC officials and electoral materials.”
He also added that “the evidence we have gathered so far shows Boko Haram still has the capacity to block the distribution of election materials in some flashpoint areas.”
Fear of attacks and killings and destruction of properties will create apathy that will affect the turnout of the electorate during the forthcoming 2023 election, he said.
The Director of CORN WEST Africa, Dr Tarila Marclint Ebiede, while speaking, declared: “Nigeria is struggling with different forms of insecurity and violent conflicts that may affect the credibility of the elections in some regions such as the North East, and North West where there are ongoing conflicts.”
The Technical Lead of Managing Conflict in Nigeria Program, Dr Ukoha Ukiwo, in his remarks, lamented: “Political actors still pay lip-service to pacts of non-violence; there has been breakdown in consociationalism and power-sharing arrangements, non-completion of institutional reforms and challenges of implementation, state fragility and capacity issues on the part of electoral institutions and security agencies.”