The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and other stakeholders have commended the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for its initiative to monitor and document incidences of human rights violations during and after the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
The commendations were made during the 5th edition of review meeting of Mobilizing Voters for Elections (MOVE) project of the NHRC which is supported by some stakeholders including the Legal Defense and Assistance Project (LEDAP).
The Second Vice President of the NBA, Clement Chukwuemeka in his remarks at the occasion, stated that the NHRC's vision in setting up the election situation room to monitor and document the actions of stakeholders was a step in the right direction which is expected to remind citizens and institutions of the need for accountability.
On the other hand, the NBA representative picked holes in the outcome of elections, saying that despite high expectations from the INEC, the elections rather witnessed unprecedented incidences of voter profiling, especially in Lagos and South East geopolitical zone, where voters were allegedly warned not to come out unless they were prepared to vote certain candidates.
He therefore called on the judiciary to restore the confidence of the people by ensuring that perpetrators of various forms of electoral crimes and malpractices are brought to book in accordance with the law.
Also, in her statement at the event, the Commander in charge of INEC and representative of the Commandant General of NSCDC, Fatima Binta Ilesanmi stated that NSCDC played a very important role during the elections especially as it relates to ensuring that voters conduct themselves in an orderly manner.
In his remarks, the representative of INEC chairman and the Director of Prosecution, Haruna Auta said the idea of setting up the election situation by the NHRC to monitor and document the actions of stakeholders like the political parties, candidates and government agencies will promote accountability in the electioneering process.
He stated the willingness of INEC to partner with the NHRC and NBA to prosecute the perpetrators of electoral offences and other related malpractices, pointing out that the electoral body received over 774 cases on complaints and petitions bordering on election malpractices which are under investigation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Human Rights Adviser to the NHRC and Project Coordinator, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna who represented the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Chief Tony Ojukwu OFR, SAN, FICMC thanked the participants for finding time to join the Commission in its quests to ensure a human rights compliant electoral process in the country.
There was also a panel of discussion which focused on the outcome of the 2023 polls and the way forward.
Discussants on the panel were Member Governing Council of the NHRC/Executive Director, Partner West Africa, Mrs. Kemi Okenyodo, Executive Director, Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), Dr. Benson Olugbuo and the Second Vice President of the NBA, Clement Chukwuemeka.
The panel was moderated by the Executive Director, LEDAP, Chinonye Obiagwu (SAN).