Intersociety demands redeployment of Lagos REC over genocidal incitement against Igbo 

International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), has written, an open letter to the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, demanding the redeployment of the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in charge of Lagos State, Olu Agbaje, over his recent genocidal incitement against Igbo living in Lagos.

Intersociety in a statement, also accused the REC of tactfully denying South Easterners resident in Lagos, access to their Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, ostensibly to disenfranchise them in the forthcoming polls.

The statement jointly signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi, and Chinwe Umeche, demanded thorough investigation of the REC, and measures by INEC to ensure that South Easterners resident in Lagos are not disenfranchised.

It read in part: “Following widespread outcries that greeted the brazen partisanship of the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Lagos State, Olusegun Agbaje, over his anti South-East or Igbo genocidal comments/PVC posture, Intersociety is strongly calling for immediate removal of the REC.

“Live and verifiable video clips have in few days gone by, saturated the social media space, 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.

“Apart from genocidally referring to them as “South-East migrants”, the REC also 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 by inciting native residents; a ground laying for 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”.

It must be remembered 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 or 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 watch of 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 to 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 massive denial of PVCs to South-Easterners in Lagos State in Igbo residentially dominant areas of Oshodi-Isolo, Mafoluku-Oke Afa, Ijora Badia, Amukoko, Alaba, Surulere, Orile, Itire, Ijesha, Cele, Okota, Ajugunle, Olodi Apapa, Coconut, Ojokoro-Ijaye, Agbara, Ojo, Okoko, Satellite Town, FESTAC, Mushin, Ojuelegba, etc.”

Intersociety also said it “is seeking on behalf of tens of millions of conscionable Nigerians, urgent and inexcusable public answers to the 13 raised critical questions relating to the 2022/2023 PVC Distribution and the final status of the National Register of Voters ahead of the country’s all-important Feb 25, 2023 Presidential Poll.”

The statement further read”This urgent letter of ours is part of our priceless advocacy geared towards deepening democracy including inclusive election and citizens popular participation in credible democratic process in Nigeria or any part thereof.”

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“It is the uncompromising position of ours that ‘the gateway into popular, credible and inclusive election especially presidential poll is massive enfranchisement by INEC of all citizens of voting age which the Commission must do without discrimination as to ethnicity, religion, place of birth, gender and class of the citizens of voting age’. Negatively speaking, ‘the gateway into massive poll rigging especially in Nigeria’s Feb 25, 2023 presidential poll is massive disenfranchisement of citizens of voting age on the grounds of their ethnic identity, religion, place of work, gender and class’. From all indications, Your Commission has earned notoriety in the latter.

“Intersociety, therefore, minces no word to the effect that under Your Commission’s watch, millions of citizens of voting age of full blood Nigerian citizenship have been denied voting right by not being captured as voters and issued with permanent voters’ cards. Under INEC’s Watch, too, especially ahead of the Feb 25, 2023 Presidential Poll, there have been massive reports of personal data theft and destruction, diversion and impersonation of the registered citizens and citizens-under-registration’s PVCs or personal data supplied to INEC.

“Discriminatorily, tens of millions are denied registration and issuance of PVCs particularly the non Muslims of South-East and South-South residencies. Denied registration and massively disenfranchised also are large numbers of citizens of the two regions living outside their regions where they reside or work.

Contrarily, citizens of voting age especially the non Christians in the North and other parts of the country are so maximally captured as registered voters and issued with PVCs that millions of children of underage and illegal Muslim migrants sharing same faith with them are sought after and registered as “voters” and issued with PVCs.”

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