INEC warns against electoral violence

By Mary Okoh,
Enugu

The Independent National Electoral Commision (INEC) has cautioned against electoral violence against women during elections.
During a one-day seminar on Mitigating Violence Against Women in the Elections held at TopRank Hotel in Enugu on Tuesday, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, the state Resident Electoral Commisioner, decried the low participation of women during elections.
He called for full participation of women in the forthcoming general election as well as be protected, while describing violence as one of the factors that discourage women from participating in electoral process.
“Free, fair and credible election cannot be achieved in a society where there is violence particularly against women hence the need to protect women and embrace peaceful coexistence among us.”
Ononamadu however urged women to come out en-mass to participate in the election, while advising them to discourage fear. “We should not allow anybody to intimidate us with threat of violence because we own the state and the country.
“Election is always associated with tension but we should not sit at home because of any tension but you should come out and vote to use your vote to solve the problem of Enugu and Nigerian women because your vote is the best and biggest weapon to sustain our nascent democracy,” he said.
He called on all authority concerned to protect the right of women during the elections, saying, “a society that protects women is a society that is ready to survive and develop”.

Presenting a paper tagged, “Understanding gender and electoral violence,” Tochi Amauchechukwu from National Orientation Agency (NOA), described electoral violence as a greatest obstacle to development of a nation.

She lamented the way and manner some women suffer sexual abuse and other forms of intimidation during election, while calling on men and all authority concerned to ensure that women and girls are protected during election.

Also, INEC Gender Desk Officer, Edna Nnolum, said that violence against women undermines a vital requirement of electoral democracy which is equality and equity in participation for all eligible segments of the society.

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