NHRC to Release Names of Politicians Indicted for Electoral Violence
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday in Abuja said it would soon release a list of another set of persons indicted for committing electoral offences in the 2011 general election.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Bem Angwe, said this while receiving a delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led by a former Ghanaian President, Mr. John Kuffor.
Kuffor said his delegation was in Nigeria to assess the country level of preparedness for the 2015 general election.
He said the delegation had visited the ECOWAS secretariat in Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as part of its assessment tour.
Angwe said there was panic being entertained by Nigerians ahead of the 2015 elections.
However, he said the NHRC had been making efforts towards ending electoral impunity in the country by ensuring that those indicted for various electoral offences were punished.
The commission had earlier in the year released a list of some persons it indicted after reviewing various judgments of the election tribunals and appellate courts on previous elections and recommended them for prosecution.
However, no action had been taken on the NHRC recommendation. But some of the individuals affected had gone to court to challenge the legality of the commission’s report.
Angwe said the step taken by the commission to indict and recommend the alleged offenders for prosecution was part of the efforts targeted at ending electoral impunity in the country.
He said: “On the eve of the 2015 general election, the NHRC has commenced implementation of practical steps that will bring to an end the electoral impunity in this country.
“Consequently, in the past few months, the commission reviewed decisions of election tribunals and identified persons who are indicted in the various electoral tribunals to have committed some electoral offences and accordingly recommended to the Attorney General of the Federation and the relevant state Commissioners for Justice for prosecution of those indicted persons.
“In some few weeks to come, the commission is still going to release list of another set of persons, who were specifically indicted in the 2011 general election to have committed various election offences for prosecution.”
He said the law could only be effective when the sanction attached to it was being enforced.
“It is our belief that when those indicted for election offences are punished this will indeed serve as a deterrent and assist in putting an end to the culture of impunity which the commission considers a major violation of the rights of the people of Nigeria,” he added.
Angwe also informed the ECOWAS delegation of the general fears of Nigerians ahead of the forthcoming general election.
According to him, the ongoing insurgency in the North-eastern part of the country is threatening the conduct of the forthcoming polls.
Kuffor, who described respect for human rights as the pillar of democratic governance, said his delegation was in Nigeria to learn from the activities of the commission in the areas of human rights in order to “to compose a report on the situation on the ground in Nigeria and the preparedness of the nation for the election of the presidency and the legislature.”
He said: “The respect for human rights leads to democratic governance. There should respect for individuals respect his or her freedom of choice which is organised through the ballot box.
“I think that is the way Nigeria has decided to go. The people will decide on who to govern and who to remove from office.”