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What Buhari govt must do for Nigerians during, after elections – Amnesty International

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.

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CDHR Demands Factors That Led Postponement Of Elections


The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) has demanded an investigation into the factors that led to the postponement of the elections.

The group also expressed disappointment with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the postponement of the elections.

INEC had announced the postponement of the elections earlier on Saturday by one week.

A statement by Malachy Ugwummadu, the CDHR President, noted that the postponement has cast “serious shadow on the integrity of the commission” to conduct credible elections.

The statement read: “The CDHR notes with utter disappointment the postponement of the 2019 general elections on account of general poor logistics. This development, just hours before the elections, raises so many questions as to the capacity of INEC to conveniently discharge on their mandate. The Presidential and National Assembly elections were postponed to February 23, 2019 while the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections were postponed to March 9, 2019.

“This postponement has cast serious shadow on the credibility and integrity of the entire election process. As a contest, this unfortunate development has unwittingly created fertile grounds for competing political parties to discredit the process. International and local observers have mobilized at high costs and resources and are now demobilized. The entire economy and education sector in particular suffered the worst hit having been shut down for the period under review.

“By Section 15(a) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), INEC is vested with global powers and vires to organize, undertake and supervise all elections. Under Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2011 the same INEC drawing from the broad powers to organize and conduct elections can postpone an election earlier than scheduled but for the restricted reasons of insecurity, natural disaster or emergency. It is expected that concerns of logistics may not be profound enough to ground suspension of general elections over which huge budgetary allocations have been approved and received.

“Recall that both in 2011 and 2015 when there were such postponements the context are different from what we have just witnessed in the instant case where INEC consistently reassured the nation that the elections will hold with no possibility of postponement. On this score alone, INEC have not been truthful with the people since all the variables founding the bases of earlier assurances could not have changed in less than four hours to the election. The President, though a contestant, had in a national broadcast addressed the public on the scheduled election for today 16 February 2019. INEC itself has over a year ago released a comprehensive timetable of this election.

“In 2015 it was the executive through the National Security Advisor to then President Goodluck Jonathan and after due consultations with National Council of States and all stakeholders announced the postponement. What is more? We appreciate that at all times material to the postponement, the election materials including sensitive materials have been dispatched and a lot more already at their relevant locations. What happens to those materials? To what extent can the integrity of those materials already dispatched be guaranteed?

“In blaming INEC whose responsibility it is to generally organize the election, it should be recalled that it got caught in the interplay of power when the National Assembly foot-dragged on the consideration and approval of INEC budgetary allocation leaving them with serious time constraints in sourcing and procuring election materials. No doubt INEC trudged on as though all was well and even issued timetable and guidelines based on those assurances.”

The CDHR went on to make five demands: “An unequivocal apology to the Nigerian people and representatives of international communities that are here in the country; clear explanation from INEC as to the circumstance and exact reason why the election was postponed; a serious and thorough inquiry by an independent panel to ascertain what happened; appropriate sanction to relevant persons who failed in their responsibility and consequently took this decision in order to serve as a deterrent; consideration for decentralization and unbundling of INEC along the multifaceted responsibilities of that commission have now become imperative.”

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Nigeria elections: Gani Adams blows hot over INEC postponement

The Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has urged Nigerians to remain calmbfollowing the last minute postponement of the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He, however, warned the electoral umpire not to give further excuses, noting that already, the shift had a huge implication on the integrity of Nigeria, both in Africa and across the world.

Adams, in a statement he signed on Saturday, stated shift has raised questions about its level of preparedness.

He said: “Report of the non availability of sensitive and non sensitive election materials in about 15 states has raised questions on the credibility and level of preparedness of the electoral body, and the leadership of INEC should remember the inglorious story of the June 12 annulment that eventually draw the nation backward.

“I want to say that the one week window occasioned by the postponement will determine a lot of things about the Nigerian future, and there should be no inconclusive election, no excuse, either head or tail election must hold.

“Every plan is as good as its implementation. Ordinarily, the timing for the postponement is wrong, it should have come at least, two weeks before the election, not two hours to the day of election. And like every other Nigerians that have been reacting, I want to say it categorically, that it is sad that the electoral umpire had to shift the date of the election barely a few hours into the election.

“The biggest corruption is to rig an election. It is also frustrating that Nigerians gave up their livelihood. Businesses are put on hold across the country and Nigerians had to go through the same pain stocking assorted food stuffs, and staying at home just for them to cast their votes.

“But as a Nigerian who believe in peace and the unity of the country, I urge the INEC to prepare well and put its house in order for it to succeed in its duty to conduct free, fair and credible elections”, he said.

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Nigeria elections 2019: How NYSC Corps members reacted to postponement of polls

Some members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in Kogi State, on Saturday expressed displeasure over the ‘late hour’ postponement of elections’ dates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

DAILY POST had reported that INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, while addressing reporters at the press centre of the commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the nation’s capital, said that the polls would not go on as planned due to some challenges encountered by the commission.

He explained that the decision to postpone the polls followed a careful review of the implementation of the logistics and operational plans put in place for the exercise.

Some of the corps members, who served as INEC Ad-hoc staff, spoke to NAN in separate interviews in Kabba that they were disappointed.

Chika Ezeogu, a corps member, who was assigned to a Polling Unit in a remote village in Kabba/Bunu LGA, told NAN that the postponement came very late and few hours to the election.

“We had already received elections’ materials and proceeded to our various wards.

“We were very surprised when we received information on the postponement. It was not really good after going through a lot of stress,’’ Ezeogu said.

A male corps member, who spoke to NAN on conditions of anonymity, said he was shocked about the news as he never expected such to happen few hours to election.

He urged the INEC and the Federal Government to ensure effective planning in the future.

Another male corps member, who also spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that he had arranged the election materials at the polling unit when they received a message on the postponement.

“My polling unit is in a remote village with poor network, and we couldn’t access network until after 7 a.m.

“We had already arranged election materials waiting for 8 a.m to begin accreditation and voting, when we suddenly received the message.

“We have pledged our loyalty to Nigeria to serve our motherland and we don’t have a choice,’’ he said.

Another corps member said: “I am just advising our leaders to be proactive in whatsoever they do to avoid a reoccurrence of such.”

Meanwhile, the Assistant Director, Public Relations, NYSC, Mr Adedapo Tayo, commended the corps members for their resilience, cool headedness, which were great virtues that would pave way for them in future.

Tayo, who is the NYSC Monitoring Officer for 2019 elections in Kabba, Mopamuro, Yagba East, and West LGAs, commended the corps members’ commitment to the service of their motherland.

“The corps members were trained and sensitised to how to conduct themselves during the elections.

“They accepted the postponement when it came, and went back to their various posts.

“So, we praise the DG NYSC, for the intensive sensitisation of corps members, to ensure they conduct themselves well,’’ Tayo said.

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