A human rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Intersociety, has demanded the removal of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in charge of Lagos State, Olusegun Agbaje.
The group made the demand in a letter to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood.
Intersociety anchored its stand on claims that the REC was taking actions capable of inciting genocide and ethnic cleansing targeting Ndigbo in Lagos.
The letter was signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair, Intersociety, Chinwe Umeche, Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program, Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law and Chidinma Udegbunam, Head, Campaign and Publicity Department.
This came in reaction to the statement made by the REC while featuring on Channels television’s programme.
Intersociety said it was strongly calling for the immediate removal of the REC based on “live and verifiable video clips which saturated the social media spaces showing systematic and orchestrated plots by the REC to deprive the Nigerian citizens of South-East resident in Lagos their PVCs and rights to participate and vote in the Feb 25, 2023 Presidential Poll.”
It said, “apart from genocidally referring to them as ‘South-East migrants’, the REC did not hide his hatred of the South-East residents in Lagos by denying them PVCs under frivolous circumstances.
“As if these were not enough, the REC ended up vicariously, if not directly, inciting native residents preparatory to unleashing ‘Election Day and Post-Election Day’ ethnic cleansing against the South-East residents in the State.
“He also hatefully lied unpardonably by describing the decades-old South-East residents in Lagos as ‘those that migrated and settled in Lagos to escape insecurity in the South-East’.”
The group further claims that “not long ago, batches of carefully sorted out PVCs with ethno-religious marks bearing Igbo and other Eastern names were carted away from INEC custody and scattered and dumped in large numbers inside gutters and streets along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“In 2015 and 2019, organized group violence was unleashed on Igbo citizens’ resident in Lagos by loyalists of the leading political actors in Lagos for conscientiously voting for candidates of their choice.
“In the 2019 Presidential Poll, Igbo properties including homes and market stores as well as polling units in their areas were targeted, attacked and wantonly destroyed, including being razed or set ablaze; and as if these were not enough, millions of South-East voters were denied PVCs by INEC under the Lagos REC in the just conducted PVC distribution in the State.
Totality of these is, therefore, tantamount to ethnic profiling with intent to instigate incitement, genocide and ethnic cleansing against the South-East residents in Lagos State.
“Intersociety hereby makes bold to say that the Lagos REC is unfit to continue as Lagos REC and must be redeployed as a matter of uttermost immediacy.
“INEC must also thoroughly investigate REC Olusegun Agbaje including looking into massive denial of PVCs to South-Easterners in Lagos State, including Igbo residents in Oshodi-Isolo, Mafoluku-Oke Afa, Ijora Badia, Amukoko, Alaba, Surulere, Orile, Itire, Ijesha, Cele, Okota, Ajegunle, Olodi Apapa, Coconut, Ojokoro-Ijaiye, Agbara, Ojo, Okoko, Satellite Town, FESTAC, Mushin, Ojuelegba, etc.”
Meanwhile, Intersociety has cried out that there was a massive poll rigging plan ahead of the presidential poll through disenfranchisement of citizens of voting age on the grounds of their ethnic identity, religion, place of work, gender and class.
It claimed that there were also estimated four million fake names compiled from booklets of passport photographs, posters of dead persons and fake names and images from outside the country presently stored in the National Register of Voters.
“What concrete measures are being put in place by INEC to ensure that the deployment of IReV, BVAS and PVC accreditation/voting technologies, processes and procedures are done across board in the 36 States and the FCT on Feb 25, 2023 Presidential Poll without discriminatory recourse to dual policies of sticking to or insisting on IReV, BVAS and PVC accreditation/voting technologies, processes and procedures in the South and substantially collapsing same and allowing manual voting in the North, especially in the States of Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara in North-West; Borno, Bauchi, Yobe and Adamawa in North-East; and Niger State in North-Central,” it queried.