Ahead of this Saturday and March 2, 2019 general elections, Amnesty International, AI, on Wednesday called on the Nigerian government to ensure adequate protection of citizens from violence and ensure full respect for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association before, during and after the polls.
It charged the Nigerian government to ensure that measures were put in place to ensure that politicians and their supporters do not infringe on human rights during electioneering.
In a statement availed DAILY POST, Country Director of AI, Osai Ojigho maintained that there should be zero-tolerance for human rights violations and that anyone suspected of wrongdoing should be brought to justice.
According to the statement: “There have been several instances of violence at election campaign rallies in some states in recent months, including the deaths of four people in Kano state in clashes between rival political supporters in December 2018.
“The election-related violence in states such as Kano, Kwara, Kogi, Rivers, Taraba and Bayelsa is deeply troubling and, if not urgently addressed, will undermine respect for human rights throughout the election period
“Amnesty International has received reports of supporters of some politicians violently targeting political opponents, real or perceived. The authorities must stamp out any potential impunity by ensuring these incidents are investigated and that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice.”
Ojigho disclosed that in pre-election violence, one person was killed and many were injured as All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign rally in Sagbama, Bayelsa state turned violent on 3rd of February.
“Previously, a 12-hour curfew was imposed in Wukari, Taraba state last month following violent clashes between supporters of the APC and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the two main political parties.
“Authorities must put in place measures to ensure politicians and their supporters do not infringe on human rights. They must make clear that there is zero-tolerance for human rights violations and that anyone suspected of wrongdoing will be brought to justice,” Ojigho said.
AI stated that a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP politician in Kaduna, Ben Bako was recently caught on video allegedly asking his supporters to attack anyone who voted for a different political party in a volatile southern part of the state.
The rights body also claimed that another PDP politician, Mr. Audi Yaro Makama was also caught on video making inciting statements.
“The authorities must fully investigate all allegations of incitement to violence and other human rights abuses before, during and after the elections and ensure that suspected perpetrators are brought to justice.
“Political parties and candidates must publicly condemn any advocacy of hatred or incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
“The authorities must also ensure that international and national civil society groups and agencies that will monitor the elections are able to do so in safety,” Ojigho said.