Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, the Senate Majority Leader, on Tuesday warned that the election violence and killings in Kogi State could happen to anybody irrespective of political party.
Reports have it that over 10 persons were killed during the November 16 election, including Senator Dino Melaye’s nephew and a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) women leader, Salome Abuha, who was burnt alive in her residence in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi State.
According to Senator Abdullahi, the PDP and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) must work together to save the nation’s electoral process.
“It is important if the Minority Leader and I can come up with a by-partisan bill to look at the punishments for electoral violence.
“Let us see how we can raise a law to effectively tackle electoral violence because electoral violence knows no partisanship. All politicians on all sides are guilty.
“Electoral violence started from the beginning of our democratic journey in 1999, but it’s getting worse by the day. There were pockets of violence in other republics, but they were not as terrible as what we have today. If we don’t curb this phenomenon, it’s going to be dangerous for our country,” he added.
“The spectre of violence and its attendant consequences are some of the unhealthiest events in the country. I believe that all politicians, irrespective of the various parties we belong to, have a responsibility to address and to curb violence, otherwise we will all become victims.
“So, there is the need for us to urge the security agencies to really do their jobs. They should arrest and bring to book the perpetrators of the dastardly act, who are known.”
Speaking also, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, the Senate Minority Leader, noted that security agencies had not successfully prosecuted perpetrators of electoral violence.
“People have been known and seen to perpetuate violence and nothing has been done to them. Once nothing is done to somebody, once nobody pays the price for criminality of this nature, it only creates further violence.
“The law enforcement agencies must be up to task. The husband of the woman that was killed in Kogi State has identified those who killed his wife but till today, nothing has been done to them.
“We have heard all manner of excuses and there is now a pattern. If you don’t curb it through the use of enforcement, you will only see that pattern continue to grow.”
The Senate who observed a minute silence for victims of election violence in Bayelsa and Kogi States urged security agencies to expeditiously apprehend perpetrators of electoral violence and ensure justice is done.
Senator Ahmed Lawan, the President of the Senate, in his statement said; “No party is free from this blame, and it is for us as politicians to continue to enlighten our people to face politics as a game of ideas. I believe that those who perpetrated violence, especially in the last elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states, should be apprehended and prosecuted. I believe that this is the way to go; people should pay the price of their actions.”
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.