Muhammed Abubakar, Reporting
Ahead of next Saturday’s presidential election, the Birnin Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), Kaduna State, has called on the constituted authorities and other relevant stakeholders to negotiate with terrorists groups if the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must conduct a successful election in the area.
Stonix News reports that Birnin Gwari is one of the communities incessantly troubled and ravaged by terrorists who kidnap them at will as well as task them during crop harvests.
The admonition was made in a statement issued by the Chairman of the union, Ishaq Usman Kasai on Saturday and made available to journalists, in Kaduna.
“Our major concern is our people including the internally displaced persons (IDPs), how they will be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise at their respective locations without any fear or intimidation.
“At this point, we wish to commend the effort made by INEC in relocating some of the Poling Units (PUs) from the sacked communities to various points where respective eligible voters are relocated and are residing including the IDPs,” he enthused.
Usman said while the effort will go a long way in ensuring that they exercise their franchise, getting across logistics to the locations without hassles was another challenge that must be tackled give. The security situation.
“The second issue is on facilitating the movements of Election Officials and materials on the Election Day to various units in the local government especially to areas where security problems are high, such as the Eastern and Western parts of of the local government.
“There are 11 political wards in Birnin-gwari and 10 of these wards are facing security challenges that if measures are not proactively taken will hinder the election processes.
“We are aware of the arrangements being made locally to address these challenges especially by possibly establishing contact with the respective terrorist groups in the most hostile areas in order to allow successful conduct of the 2023 Elections in the area.
“It is noted that, this same approach was adopted successfully during the Census Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) that took place recently where, with the permission of the bandits, all the areas were visited by the census functionaries and demarcated.
“We, therefore, observe that, based on experience, only local arrangements, through diplomatic means in form of reaching to these terrorist groups for negotiation diplomatically, could allow the 2023 Elections to hold successfully in about 10 political Wards with hundreds of Polling Units in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area.
“For now, due to security problem, INEC has already cancelled one PU in Gayam Ward of the LG. This cancelled PU is among the 240 PUs recently cancelled by INEC in Nigeria due to high security threat.
“We are, therefore, advising the authorities to engage relevant stakeholders especially community leaders in all arrangements for success of carrying out 2023 general Elections in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area.
“It is a known fact that Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State is facing security challenge that is affecting many aspects of its development including transportation, farming, education, economy, business among others; where about one 100 communities are sacked and about 50,000 persons rendered internally displaced (IDPs) across various communities,” the statement further lamented.