National Assembly

The Conscience for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) has called on the National Assembly to hasten the passage of the electoral reforms bill to strengthen the country’s democratic process.

Mr Idris Miliki, Executive Director of CHRCR, made the call at the Kogi East Senatorial District Town Hall Meeting for Impact Assessment on Anti-Corruption, Transparency and Accountability on Saturday in Anyigba, Dekina Local Government.

The meeting was organised by the CHRCR in partnership with Shehu Musa Yar’adua Foundation with support from McArthur Foundation.

Miliki urged the National Assembly to bring to bear on the legislation, experiences and lessons from the recently conducted 2019 general and off-cycle elections in the country.

“The new electoral reforms should take into cognisance the experience we had during the general elections in February and also all that went on during the Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections.”

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The Human Rights activist also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to specifically ensure that whatever would be required to fast-track the passage of the bill was provided before the end of 2020.

He, however, urged that if possible, the processes should be completed and the bill passed for the reforms to take effect before the Edo and Ondo states governorship polls.

He noted that the fact that the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, was the sponsor of the bill, made it easier and urged the lawmakers to expedite action on the passage.

Miliki, however, urged Nigerians to make their inputs through memoranda and the public hearing, saying: “The president or the executive arm should make recommendations to the National Assembly.

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“They should participate. You cannot leave it to INEC or National Assembly alone.

“The politicians and political parties should also make written submissions; the journalists and media practitioners should also participate in the public hearing and make submissions. It should be a collective thing”

On election security, Miliki said the mode of deployment of security personnel on Election Day needed to be reformed, adding that the Kogi scenario in the governorship elections showed that personnel deployment proved ineffective.

“What we are saying is the fact that the deployment of election security personnel should be under the purview and logistics of INEC,” he said.

On electronic voting, Miliki said the world had gone e-voting and Nigeria should not be in isolation.

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According to him, the Card Reader assisted in the 2015 elections and ought to be accorded the legal backing.

Most of the participants drawn from the nine local government areas in Kogi East Senatorial District at the meeting were unanimous in their submissions that the last elections were fraught with irregularities and violence in many places.