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Polls: NEMA Stages Non-Violence Awareness/ Sensitization Workshop In Ebonyi

FROM IGNATIUS OKPARA, Abakaliki – Disturbed by the high rate of political violence that has continued to characterised parts of Nigeria, ahead of the forthcoming general polls, the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA on Wednesday staged a one day election Non- violence awareness and sensitization workshop in Ebonyi, believed to be one of the volatile states.

The Agency urged political actors in Ebonyi, and other south east states, to imbibe the spirit and culture of canvassing for votes via persuasion, and not engaging in harassment or intimidation of opponents.

In a paper entitled “The imperative of violence free general elections in Nigeria: “Perspective on the 2015 general election” South east zonal coordinator of NEMA, Major James Eze, stressed the need for politicians to always put interest of the nation above personal interest.

He regretted that since the return of democratic rule in Nigeria in 1999, every subsequent general seasons had been characterized by more vicious and violence than hitherto.

Eze, hinted that it was based on the culture of political intolerance among the nation’s politicians, which often leads to political violence, that Director- General of NEMA, Alhaji Sani Sidi, decided to put in place the “Nigeria Electoral Risk preparedness and contingency Plan from October 2014- March 2015” via stakeholders.

According to him, all stakeholders must join hands together in avoiding things that cause election violence, such as human rights abuses, impunity of government officials, security agents, and electoral officials, amongst others.

The zonal Coordinator stated that “there are many reasons why we should all work for violence free general elections, it is imperative we do it because electoral violence is a major stumbling block to the consolidation of democracy”

“NEMA is quite concerned and alarmed at the method employed by politicians to solicit support from voters, and the youths should not destroy their own future by fighting battles for people who want to win elections by any means”

Ebonyi state Director, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr. Emma Abah, also delivered a paper, tagged :”The role of Religious, opinion, community, traditional, and youth leaders, in curbing election violence”

The all important workshop, was attended by electoral stakeholders, including the media, security agencies, such as the Army, FRSC, NSCDC, members of NYSC, amongst others.


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