The Catholic Church said on Friday that it would be deploying 4,889 observers in 23 States of the country who will observe the forthcoming general elections.
This is even as it urged Nigerians to stockpile food as it foresees possible outbreak of post election violence.
The Executive Secretary of Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Bassey, also advised Nigerians especially those in volatile areas to be extra vigilant stressing that citizens should not rely on the assurances of security agencies alone, as the scale of violence, if it happens, may overwhelm their capacity.
“As you may know there are several forms of humanitarian crises already brewing in Nigeria: There is the silent Sahel food crisis affecting the food and nutrition needs of those states in the Sahel region like Sokoto, Kebbi, Yobe etc; there is the post-flood humanitarian crisis, with many still to recover their livelihoods even after billions of naira were collected; there is the potential Niger Delta crisis which could erupt anytime, and there is the mother of all humanitarian crises caused by Boko Haram which has led to the greatest displacements and miseries since the civil war.
“On top of all these are the potential dangers and humanitarian emergencies that may arise because of the already charged presidential elections. From our discussions with our partners in some parts of the country, the certain towns and cities are already so charged that potentially lives and properties are not safe, depending on the outcome of the elections. It does appear that a predetermined outcome for the elections is demanded by some groups that no matter how free and fair it is, if it does not suit them, they would resort to violence that could lead to loss of lives,” the statement said.
The Catholic Church also advised churches and mosques to set aside some funds to deal with possible humanitarian crises that may arise, to complement government effort which often times is inadequate and therefore unreliable; especially with the experience of the current IDPs situation.
“We advise churches and mosques to set aside some funds to deal with possible humanitarian crises that may arise, to complement government effort which often times is inadequate and therefore unreliable; especially with the experience of the current IDPs situation. After more than four years of a humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram we should be more proficient in handling these things but government is still dropping items and going away. Up till now no proper camps.”
In order prevent this, the Catholic Church advised Church and Mosque leaders to intensify sensitization of their members to avoid violence whatever the outcome of the elections
The statement asserted that Clergymen themselves must not only avoid being inciting and partisan during their sermons, they should also admonish their members against inciting and abusive language in the social media
“Traditional leaders should hold meetings with youth leaders on the need for peaceful conduct during and after the elections
Parents and elderly relatives should call their wards and warn them not to be used as instruments of violence by politicians.