The National Human Rights Commission has expressed fear that the continued violence in the South-East and North-West areas of Nigeria can jeopardize the 2023 general elections if nothing is done to urgently arrest it.
The Senior Human Rights Adviser to the NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu SAN, Mr. Hillary Ogbonna, revealed this on Thursday after disclosing that the Commission has monitored and is monitoring the Personal Voters Card (PVC) collection in 21 states and has met with the Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission in 28 states.
He said the Commission’s findings across the states showed that violence, voter apathy due to low faith in the electoral process and attack on INEC offices still persist and constitute a threat to the polls.
Speaking further at the NHRC’s monthly review forum for Human Rights and elections, Ogbonna specifically pointed out that there is “low turnout of electorates in 5 LGAs in Jigawa, Ekiti, Plateau, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.
“2022 PVC is not yet available for collection in Plateau. Proxies are collecting PVCs in some states,” Ogbonna added.
He warned that destroying INEC offices in parts of the country is negatively affecting PVC collection already.
Ogbonna called on the Kaduna state government to investigate the assassination of the Labour party’s women leader in Kaura, Kaduna, Mrs. Victoria Chintex, adding that political violence and destruction of campaign properties is further undermining democracy.
He also disclosed that the Commission has received 12 complaints bordering on hate speech against presidential candidates and would look into the substance of the petitions.
The ES adviser commended INEC for doing its best despite the challenges and urged law enforcement agencies to do more in protecting the rights of Nigerian electorates.