The United Nations and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have issued a warning to Nigeria regarding potential violence in the upcoming general elections.
The UN stated that any instability in Nigeria could have serious consequences for the peace and stability of the entire region, while the ECOWAS warned that if violence erupts, no other nation in the sub-region will be able to accommodate Nigerian refugees.
The warning was given during a training and engagement event in Jos, Plateau State, with the Inter-Party Advisory Council and other stakeholders focused on non-violence in the 2023 elections.
Reports indicate that over 30 people have already been killed and many injured in election-related violence in various parts of the country. Additionally, there have been multiple attacks on offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission, particularly in the South-East, many of which were linked to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), resulting in the death of several INEC staff and security personnel.
ECOWAS Programme Officer for Mediation, Brown Odigie, urged all stakeholders to ensure peaceful conduct in the 2023 elections, and for candidates and parties to uphold the signed peace accord and electoral guidelines.
He stated: “This is a mediation often done in countries across the ECOWAS region. We’re doing it for Nigeria because it’s a strategic member of ECOWAS.
“Nigeria has a huge population. The election can generate conflict if not effectively managed. And when violence occurs, with the enormous population of Nigeria, it can split to other neighbouring countries. I can assure you that no member within the zone of ECOWAS has the capacity to accommodate refugees from Nigeria.”
National Secretary, IPAC, Yusuf Dantalle, said politicians often get desperate because of huge election spending.