Dogara Raises Alarm Over Rising Violence, Arms Proliferation
- Says Election rigging greatest form of corruption
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has explained that it is as part of efforts to ensure that democracy in Nigeria is not threatened by violence that he sponsored a bill in the House that seeks to eliminate the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Nigeria.
Speaking when he received a delegation from Security Sector Reform of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria and Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre at his office, he noted that small arms and light weapons fuel conflicts, which in turn impale our societies, truncates development in any society and when introduced in politics, sets the nation back.
He expressed deep concern that in the build-up to the 2019 elections violence is beginning to take root, adding that if care is not taken, with the influx of these small arms and light weapons, it is going to get worse.
“Elections happen in virtually all governments, but not all elections are democratic. We are talking about promoting democratic elections; these democratic elections have some criteria: they are supposed to be fair and free, they are supposed to be inclusive, and they are supposed to be periodic. Where you hold elections in an environment of intimidation and violence; it cannot be free and fair. Once it is not free and fair, it therefore means it doesn’t pass the criteria of a democratic election. So that it’s the challenge, and the truth is that there is no corruption that is more than truncating the will of the people through elections into government positions. This is because that is the essence of representative governance, as the people have elected their representatives and it is those representatives that they have elected and having taken positions in government that can deliver the goods.
“However, where you have violence and intimidation, or all other forces that are against democratic norms, they tend to frustrate that and ensure that those who are masters of the game of violence are able to supplant the will of the people take center stage, as against the people putting them in positions, they are the ones who have manipulated the system in order to get themselves into positions. Where you have these kind of issues, democracy is sure to malfunction. It is our collective responsibility to guard against these kinds of scenarios.
“We are aware of the fact that if this Bill is quickly translated into Law, as we are running into the 2019 general elections, if we are able to set up this Commission, we will combat this illicit dealing in weapons of war, we will be able to provide a very conducive environment for the 2019 elections to take place.”
“We are democratic leaders and for us to ensure the sustenance of democracy, we need to eliminate violence. Where violence prevails in any society, development will always take the back stage. That is not the kind of politics that we seek to implant for our dear nation.