April 22, 2022

FG must leverage hi-tech to combat electoral violence — CSO

electoral violence

…Calls for the domestication of international, regional human rights treaties

…Says adequate security, logistics must be provided for ad-hoc staff

By Ezra Ukanwa, Abuja

As part of the fight against Gender-Based Violence, a Civil Society Organisation, CSO, Stand To End Rape, STER, Thursday, called on the Federal Government, FG, to facilitate the deployment of emerging technologies to tackle electoral violence.

This call was made by the Executive Director of STER, Oluwaseun Osowobi, during a press briefing and launching of the Strategic Innovation Fund, SIF, project report, titled: “Vulnerable and Outside the Margins: From Challenges to Informed Inclusion”, in Abuja, on Thursday.

According to her, national and state governments and communities should leverage technology to tackle electoral violence A nationwide awareness-raising initiative on the use of platforms to report apps and training should be implemented across the country. This will aid data tracking on incidences of violence during elections in real-time and also equip security agencies to track persons in precarious situations, intervene and receive prompt support.

She called on FG to double it’s an effort in combatting violence against women, particularly on the domestication and implementation of all international and regional human rights treaties to protect women’s rights.

She pointed out that there is a need for the state Houses of Assembly to ensure the adoption and implementation of the violence Against Persons Prohibition, VAPP, Act and Child Rights Act.

She said: “Review of the VAPP Act by The Human Rights Experts established in November 2015 and mandated to compile a list of laws to be reviewed for compliance with human rights norms and standards. This would be done under the purview of the National Human Rights Commission which is vested in national human rights institutions in receiving and investigating complaints of human rights abuses, with the power to enforce decisions.

“Domestication and implementation of the CEDAW and the Maputo Protocol and other international and regional human rights treaties to protect women’s rights.

“The State Houses of Assembly should ensure the adoption and proper implementation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act and Child Rights Act.

“Women’s rights must be prioritized in allocating funding and training government officials, including police officers and court officials. Members of the police force should receive in-depth training while in and after graduating from the Police Academy on adequate and survivor-centred response to gender-based violence.

“Nationwide Sensitisation Efforts by The National Orientation Agency., Independent National Electoral Commission and other stakeholders, including CSOs. This would also include training for election/political/security stakeholders by the Electoral body.

“Adequate security, welfare and logistics should be provided for Corp members involved in election duties. STER reiterates the call for security reinforcement for all the Adhoc staff involved in elections, as a preventive strategy, especially NYSC members in volatile areas.”

Osowobi stated further that findings from the SIF survey which aimed at examining the troubling, multi-dimensional phenomenon of violence against women in politics and elections in Nigeria, revealed that there have been scores of cases regarding the rape of ad-hoc staff, particularly corp members who were delegated to cover elections at areas without tight security.

Her words: “Among the respondents for this study who identify as electoral ad-hoc staff, particularly the Corp (NYSC) members, about 11% of them report that they have either been raped or sexually harassed based on their involvement in the electoral process. Similarly, about 21% of the Corps members reveal that violence has been perpetrated against them by law enforcement officials as a result of their affiliations with electoral management agencies.”

Earlier, the Programme Manager, Women Rights Unit, Action Aid Nigeria, Nkechi Kanny, commended the STER initiative for its efforts in conducting a survey in a bid to address gender-based violence in Nigeria.

The STIF project was likewise funded by Action Aid Nigeria.

Vanguard News Nigeria