The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned in strong terms the spate of political killings in the South East and North West geo-political zones in the country close to the 2023 general elections.
The Commission stated that it will not hesitate to invoke its powers to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are made to face the wrath of the law.
It regretted the unfortunate killings in Imo, Anambra and Kaduna states as well as the incessant burning of INEC offices in these states few weeks to the Presidential National Assembly elections, pointing out that these violations constitute a sore point in the electioneering process and should stop. Meanwhile, it decried 15 cases of hate speeches perpetrated by Presidential candidates.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu made this declaration at the second monthly review meeting of Mobilizing Voters for Election (MOVE) project in Abuja noted that such acts are quite unbecoming, warning “it is high time political parties and candidates called their supporter to order”.
Similarly, the Chief Human Rights Officer of Nigeria has identified other serious human rights violations against other states thus: violations of the right to peaceful assembly- Kano, Borno and Lagos, as alleged by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), violation of the right to freedom of association- Ebonyi and Lagos state, and violation of right to dignity of human person- Delta and Ebonyi states.
According to the NHRC Boss, Infringements on Freedom of participation as experienced in some states where some INEC staff, offices and equipment were attacked thereby scaring citizens from collecting their PVC and participating in the elections is a source of worry to the Commission
“This political intolerance and violence have violated the right to peaceful assembly, freedom of association , right to dignity of human person, right to participation and freedom of expression was recorded in Kano, Borno, Lagos,Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra and Kaduna”, he added.
Ojukwu who was represented at the review by his Human Rights Adviser, Mr Hilary Ogbonna , noted that the right to life is sacrosanct and that the electioneering process and respect for human right are two mutually reinforcing variables that need to be promoted and respected.
Against this backdrop, the Commission had set up PVC Observation Collection mechanism to register and seek to address the concerns of citizens towards participating in the elections.
Besides, it will be exercising its oversight responsibility on the the conduct of security personnel during balloting and result collation process to ensure that voters are provided with the necessary security as against intimidation during the entire process of elections.
Before the February review, the Commission had successfully organised town for the governorship candidates in 18 states where over 85 gubernatorial candidates and parties’ Chairmen attended.