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Kalabari, Okrika, Obio/Akpor As Risk Areas In March, April Election

Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Niger Delta region has issued warning signal of areas at risk in 2015 general election in Rivers State and other Niger Delta States. The group under the aegis of Niger Delta Peace and Security Working Group (NDPSWG) gave the warning on Tuesday during one-day Forum on “Stakeholders Responsibilities during the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.”

In Rivers State, Obio/Akpor, Okrika, Kalabari, Ahoada and Ogoni has been identified as areas to watch out for violence, adding that with the collapsed of Presidential candidates’ peace accord violence is possible.

Some of the stakeholders who spoke at the workshop said with what happened in 2011 election especially the post-election violence it became necessary to find a solution on how to minimize the 2015 election violence.

Mr. Michael Gonzalex, team leader, Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) said the risk areas identified in Rivers State must be taking very seriously to minimize causality during and after election.

“The essence of this workshop is to proffer solution to save lives, the INEC officials, party supporters and the electorate must watch out for Obio/Akpor local government area, Okrika, Kalabari axis, Ahoada and Ogoni because our findings revealed that there is danger.”

Another stakeholder, Mrs. Lillian Okonkwo, chairman, National Association of Women Journalists, Rivers State chapter who spoke on the topic “Violence during 2011 election” reminded the stakeholders and the guests at the workshop on the factors that led to 2011 election violence.

She recalled out that in 2011 there was high prevalence of rape, intimidation, assassination, physical attacks, fights, clashes and counter-attacks.

She said: “violence is inevitable; it must come so the best way is to avoid the areas identified as risk, in 2011 gangs of youths were mobilized to disrupt the campaigns of opponents. There was power tussles among political chieftains leading to deaths. Political attacks on candidates and their supporters.

“There was also destruction of bill boards, party offices, cars, houses, business establishments. Don’t forget there was sexual harassment and threats to the lives of female spirants/candidates”.

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