To ensure a credible and transparent democratic exercise in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) in collaboration with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre ( CISLAC) has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and all relevant stakeholders, including the government, political parties, INEC, security agencies, civil society, and citizens, to install more credibility in the electoral process, that protects the fundamental human rights of Nigerians under the amended Constitution of 1999.
The group made the call on Monday at the public presentation of the 2023 general elections human rights report by HURIDAC and CISLAC in Ojodu Berger, Lagos.
Speaking at the presentation which contains a ten-point recommendation, Ayodele Ameen, Executive Director of HURIDAC, said: the recommendations became necessary after an in-depth analysis of the 2023 general election process in Nigeria, focusing on human rights and the effective conduct of elections.”
Citing some of the recommendations, Ameen said: “The government, international development partners and community, NGOs, civil society, and relevant stakeholders should intensify strategic engagements with security agencies and political parties in dialogue before, during, and after the electoral process. This collaboration is essential to prevent electoral violence and establish appropriate mitigation plans.”
He also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and policymakers should ensure that INEC staff and other ad-hoc electoral staff are well-trained in the use of electronic devices, including the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). It is crucial to make these devices effective to avoid any disappointments during the election period.”
The Executive Director Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) Auwal Rafsanjani said: “The Nigerian government must know that if we want to install more credibility in the electoral process, the fundamental human rights of Nigerians under our Constitution of 1999 as amended and also other international bigger frameworks that allow participation of the citizens to participate in the electoral process are taking into account. “
“Any attempt to breach those fundamental rights needs to be addressed and officials like the security who sometimes also are being misused to violate the rights of Nigerians with political parties who hire thugs and criminals to vandalise and go after opposition political parties must be made to face the law.”
“These recommendations have been put together for policy reforms in Nigeria towards ensuring the fundamental rights of Nigerians to participate in a free, fair and peaceful election are upheld in our country. This is about the first time that organisations are looking at specific aspects within the conduct of the election,” Rafsanjani added.
Adedoyin Omolara, Adeeso, Program and Advocacy Officer, Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) during her presentation said: during the 2023 National Elections 216 incidents of human rights violations and abuse were recorded. 187 of those incidents were unlawful killings; 21 incidents were injuries and destruction of 8 properties. During the 2023 Gubernatorial Elections were recorded 197 incidents of human rights violations and abuse. 91 incidents of unlawful killings, 81 people suffered various degrees of injuries and an estimate of 25 properties were destroyed to various forms of violence during the governorship and State House of Assembly elections.”
She added that Katsina recorded the highest number of violent incidents in the 2023 national elections as eighty-seven (87) people were unlawfully killed in communal violence during the pre-election period. The perpetrators of these acts of violence were bandits, while many of the victims were community vigilantes. Kano had the second highest number of violent incidents with twenty-one (21) people unlawfully killed in a spate of violence that occurred after the presidential elections.”
Pix 1 From left is Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani ED Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Mr. Ayodele Ameen ED Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC), and Miss Adedoyin Omolara Adeeso, Programme and Advocacy Officer (HURIDAC)
Pix 2: From left is Mallam Auwal Musa Rafsanjani ED Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Mr. Ayodele Ameen ED Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC), and MR Nelson Ekujumi