Friday, 9th June 2023

Rights violations during 2023 general elections antithetical to nation’s building – NHRC

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
26 May 2023   |   11:04 am
The National Human Rights Commission has said the pockets of violence and human rights violations witnessed during the 2023 general elections is antithetical to nation-building.

A voter gives a finger print to authenticate her identity with Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to vote at a polling station for a gubernatorial and House of Assembly candidates during local elections, in Lagos, on March 18, 2023. – Nigerians vote in local elections three weeks after the ruling party won a presidential poll contested by the two main opposition parties. Africa’s most populous country will be voting for governors in 28 of the 36 states of the federation — the other states having already conducted by-elections — as well as for representatives in state assemblies. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

The National Human Rights Commission has said the pockets of violence and human rights violations witnessed during the 2023 general elections is antithetical to nation-building.

Executive Secretary, NHRC, Tony Ojukwu, stated this at a public lecture organized by Peace for Free Initiative on “Sustainable Peace Beyond Elections” yesterday in Abuja.

Represented by a senior official of the commission, Titilayo Samuel, the NHRC boss observed that such incidents were antithetical to the development of the country and stressed the importance of peaceful coexistence among Nigerians.

According to him, Nigeria’s diversity in culture and religion was a strength that must be harnessed for the country’s progress.

“The 2023 general elections have come and gone but not without pockets of infractions and violence which resulted in various forms of human rights violations.

“The ethnic and religious tensions in some parts of Northern and Southern Nigeria respectively are clear testimonies that peace pays while war, violence and conflicts bring destruction in terms of human and material resources,” Ojukwu said.

He, however, emphasized that tolerance and respect for each other’s beliefs and opinions were essential for peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.

Professor Anthony Igyuve of the Department of Mass Communications, Nasarawa State University, Keffi admonished the youth to desist from making themselves ready tools for violence over the outcome of the 2023 general elections.

Igyuve while commending Nigerian youth for their uncommon courage, enthusiasm and active participation in the last general election in spite of the challenges, described it as the demonstration of the commitment to make Nigeria better.

He said that youth needed to know that the dream of a better Nigeria that made them participate in the election would not be possible if there was no peace in Nigeria.

“Today your future is more important than any other thing and that future can best be guaranteed under a democratic governance and peaceful environment.

They are not doing it because they love you. They are doing it because they want to benefit from you.

“It is when you recognise that, then you will recognise the importance of peace in our societies and in our communities,” he said.

Convener of the Peace for Free Initiative, Chris Kalu noted that Nigeria’s population is estimated to be the youngest in Africa, with 60 per cent of the population under the age of 25.

“This year’s elections generated public attention, particularly from youths who are increasing their political participation in the collective struggle for good governance,” he said.

Kalu explained that the lecture series is aimed at educating citizens, particularly the youth, on the tenets of democratic practices.

He added that the advocacy outreach was intended to engage citizens in free discussions to explain perceived uncertainties in the Nigerian polity that could lead to violent disruptions and truncation of the fragile democracy beyond the 2023 general elections.