Anambra election: Women coerced, threatened, nearly killed- Groups

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The Gender Perspective and Social Development Center (GPSDC), convener of Stop Violence Against Women in Politics (Stop-VAWIP), and the Catch Them Young Community Initiative (CATYCOI), promoter of Vote Not Fight Campaign (VNF), have reported 14 cases of violence meted against women at the Anambra State November 6 gubernatorial poll.

According to the groups, the incidents of violence against women which were recorded mostly at Awka South, Ihiala and Nnewi North Local Government Areas (LGA), included threats, attempted murder, coercion, economic and psychological violences.

Presenting the reports in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the Programme Manager, Stop-VAWIP, Mr Emmanuel Ubajekwe and his counterparts of VNF, Mr Nonso Orakwe, said they trained and deployed volunteers across the 3 senatorial districts, 21 LGAs, 326 wards and polling units in Anambra State, as well as created media programmes for effective election monitoring and incident reporting.

Ubajekwe whose programmes were supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said the election witnessed increased women participation despite the violence experienced before and during the poll, and called on relevant stakeholders to step up actions towards forestalling future occurrences of such incidents.

“A total of 14 incidents were recorded. 78.6 % of the incidents occurred during the elections which lasted from Saturday 6 till Tuesday, 9 November 2021. While 21% of the incident occurred in the pre-election phase. Physical violence constitutes about 64.3% of the entire incidents. Female voters were affected by dragging or preventing them from the polling unit, threats and coercion, murder or attempted murder and intimidation of a female INEC official.

“ An example is the intimidation of a female INEC official in Uruagu ward 2 in Nnewi North Local Government Area on election day and sporadic shooting of guns by security agents at Aroma Junction in Awka on election day. Economic violence constituted about 28.6% of the total number of recorded incidents of violence against women. This could be seen through reported cases of vote-buying and selling that took place during the polls. Psychological violence constituted only 7.1 % of the total number of recorded incidents, notably false accusation.

“The incidence of violence by Local Government Area (LGA) showed that Awka South and Nnewi North recorded the highest cases of electoral violence at 21.4% each while Ayamelum and Ihiala followed with 14.3% each. Awka North, Njikoka, and Ogbaru recorded the least at 7.1 % each. The incidence of electoral violence by gender showed that women were the most targeted during the election (42.1%) and men the least (26.3%). The forms of physical violence recorded showed murder or attempted murder at the top (57.1%) while other forms such as intimidation of INEC officials; the sporadic shooting by security agents, threats (coercion) formed 28.6% of the total incidence.

“Dragging and preventing a person from polling units recorded the least at 14.3% of the recorded cases. The only form of psychological violence recorded was false accusation (100%), while the forms of economic violence recorded put vote buying/selling at 75% and economic punishment at 25%, respectively. Lastly, the analysis conducted showed that voters made up 50% of the incidents recorded, while others such as election administrators, party activists, observers and security agents made up 7% each,” Ubajewe stated.

They further commended all the contestants at the poll especially those who have congratulated Prof. Charles Soludo, the candidate of All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) and eventual winner of the poll, describing it as “healthy spirit of sportsmanship.”

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