by James Sambo
Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, has said that there is a need for the Electoral Act to be amended to allow people from the North-East of the country who have been displaced by Islamist sect, Boko Haram, to exercise their civic rights in next year’s general elections. According to the Senator, failure to do this may disenfranchise over a million persons in the troubled states in the region, and that such an amendment is the only way to give the elections credibility..
Ndume, who is standing trial over his alleged ties to the terrorist group Boko Haram, promised to sponsor a Bill on this when the Senate resumes, and suggested the creation of special polling units at the refugee camps so that displaced people can vote.
The senator gave the suggestions in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, argued that if Nigerians in the Diaspora are being considered an allowance during the election, “what stops those that have been displaced by the prevailing insurgency in the Northeast from been given the same allowance.”
Ndume also raised a fresh alarm over the activities of Boko Haram insurgents, who have taken over Gwoza, his home town. According to him, the terrorists may soon overrun the entire North East if nothing is done urgently.
“The major problem of this country is not the 2015 general election that everybody is talking about everywhere but the security of the nation. I am always amazed when I hear people talking about election in 2015 not the condition or situation the internally displaced persons are in presently in Borno and other states of the North east.
“Nobody is talking and showing much concern about it. This is the reason why I am mobilising some of my colleagues to support the motion for the amendment of the electoral act to allow IDPs like me and others who are displaced and are now in Maiduguri, Yola, and other places to cast our votes wherever we are.
“For example in Maiduguri today, we have over 17,000 Gwoza people that are internally displaced and only 7,000 are already in Maiduguri at different camps and with their relations while about 10,000 are presently being relocated and conveyed to Maiduguri from other places. And this is apart from those from Damboa and other local government areas that Boko Haram has annexed,” he said.