The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) say they have developed about 42 checklists to monitor violence-prone areas during the 2019 elections.
This was done in connection with the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP). WANEP said as part of the deal, it has trained 80 election monitors.
Mfrekeobong Ukpanah, early warning officer, peace & security department, AU commission, made this known while speaking at the end of the training in Abuja.
According to her, there are “series of threats and signs of possible violence” towards the 2019 elections and in order to check this, the network has tried to identify potential hot spots that could be affected.
“There are series of threats and there are series of signs and that’s why we started this project in collaboration with ECOWAS and our civil society partner, WANEP, sometime last month,” Ukpanah said.
“We tried to map and identify concretely potential hotspots, either due to issue of an election-related violence in past elections or due to the current security dynamics in the country.
“Also, we have a checklist like a set of indicators which we developed with different Nigerian stakeholders cutting across four major thematic issues of physical violence, physical assault, issues that have to do with ethics and compliance to the electoral act or rule of law which could threaten elections, to issues of hate-related speeches.
“So, there are series of things that we need to work towards to prevent electoral violence. I can specifically say this is it, but we have actually had a long checklist; 42 of them that we are monitoring on a regular basis.
“That is why we are providing this training for these monitors to be able to help us systematically and on a regular basis, monitor those report and provide us with valid report that we need to analyse.
Also speaking, the executive director of WANEP, Chukwuemeka Eze, explained that the training will focus on situation monitoring, analysis and mitigation throughout the electioneering process.
The WANEP director noted that the field monitors will provide analytical reports on areas of risks of violence and make recommendations to key electoral actors like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian police, Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN) and Juma’atu Nasril Islam (JNI).
Ismaila Gueye, programme officer, Directorate of early warning of ECOWAS, said the commission is concerned about the 2019 polls and aims to promote peace and security in the region.
The Directorate added that the monitors have been provided a new improved software called “server 123” to guarantee a better information gathering process.
“The new tool in monitoring election is an easier tool, so when they go to the field they can collect information and send it in the easier way and people will be there during the analysis. So, it will be a contribution for peaceful and transparent election,” he said.