By: Sunday Ejike – Abuja
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Sunday said it will invite the Lagos State Parks Management Committee Chairman, Musiliu Akinsanya popularly known as MC Oluomo over the alleged threat he issued against Igbo
M.C. Oluomo, in a viral video, had threatened that Igbo people living in Lagos should not bother to come to the polls if they will not vote for the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC).
Briefing newsmen on the preliminary report of the National Human Rights Commission election observers on the March 18 Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections on Sunday, the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN) also hinted that Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, will also be invited to appear before an investigative panel of the Commission over alleged violent and inciting statements.
Governor Bello was captured on video where he appeared to have used some inciting words against his political opponents in the state.
Even though the state Commissioner for Information, Kingsley Fanwo, has reportedly denied the utterances of the governor, the NHRC boss said he (Bello) will be invited to explain his statements.
As part of its mandate to promote and protect human rights, the NHRC he said, deployed 600 staff Human Right Monitors across the 36 states for the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.
Ojukwu said, the Commission during the elections process monitored among others, issues relating to the conduct of law enforcement and security personnel, hate speech, election related Sexual and Gender based violence (SGBV) and vote buying.
The NHRC boss said the hitches and irregularities recorded in the Presidential election and threats of violence prior to the elections are some factors responsible for the voter apathy recorded during the Governorship and Houses of Assembly elections.
“The overall report from our monitors showed that INEC officials and materials arrived relatively early across the country. Our field monitors reported that 7% of polling officials arrived between 6:00 am and 7:00 am , while 40% of the officials arrived between 7:00 am and 8:00 am.
“However, 4% of INEC officials came after 10:00 am, leading to delays in some polling units. Additionally, our monitors reported that voting materials arrived on time in most polling units, with 37% arriving between 7:00 am and 8:00 am and 40% arriving between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. 13% of materials arrived between 9:00am and 10:00 am while 5% arrived after 10:00 am”, he said.
He added that the NHRC election monitors reported that the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was generally successful. Most voters were accredited using BVAS, with only 6% of registered voters not accredited in some polling units and that, using BVAS for uploading to IRev was successful in many areas monitored.
The Commission called on law enforcement agencies to investigate to investigate the attack on the ARISE News crew at Elegushi Palace as well as other incidents of violence and bring perpetrators to book, even as it condemned the killing of thugs in Lagos, Katsina and Benue states, Labour Party agents in Lagos, adding that elections are not war and no life should be lost in the process of elections.
He said, it was observed that the role of law enforcement in maintaining order during the elections was generally positive and commendable, but however, noted that, there were some incidents of extra-judicial killings, crowd control, and collusion with political parties.
The NHRC Executive Secretary called on the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute all verified cases of political violence including attacks and snatching of ballot boxes and materials.
The Nigeria Police Force, he noted should deploy human rights based approaches in managing cases of post – election violence and ensure the protection of lives and properties in the over all process of the 2023 electoral circle.
“All law enforcement and security agents in the remaining unconcluded ongoing elections should maintain political neutrality and impartiality in these election operations.
“That INEC, in conducting future off-cycle elections continue to ensure transparency and integrity in the electoral processes”, he said.