NHRC reports 42 locations of vote buying

Says disenfranchisement is a violation of the right to vote

The National Human Rights Commission
NHRC , said its recorded vote buying in 42 locations across the country during last Saturday presidential and National Assembly elections.

Human Rights Monitors saw the vote buying, particularly in Lagos, Imo, Sokoto, Jigawa, Edo, Nasarawa, Jigawa and Kogi states. “Voters were offered money or other incentives to influence their votes,” Executive Secretary NHRC Tony Ojukwu SAN, said.

Ojukwu, SAN, stated this on Sunday while presenting the Commission preliminary report of the election.

NHRC calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure that Nigerians who were disenfranchised on Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections are able to vote in the rescheduled elections.

“Disenfranchisement is a violation of the right to vote and could be a major trigger for election violence and impacts on the legitimacy and acceptability of election results”, adding that “everything therefore should be done to ensure that Nigerians who trooped out in their millions to vote are afforded the opportunity to do so”.

NHRC also called on INEC to ensure prompt uploads of results of elections into its election results portals to ensure transparency and integrity in the electoral process.

It said the electoral body must re-appraise its logistics strategy to ensure that:
“Materials and personnel arrive on time during the governorship and houses of assembly election in March.
Materials which are essential instruments for the exercise of the right to vote are available. INEC must ensure that voting materials are complete and enough for the huge size of electorates.

“Revamp its feedback platforms including call lines to enable Nigerians reach INEC to directly report on situations on the electoral process.

The National Human Rights Commission calls on the Nigerian Police Force and other law enforcement and security agencies to so more concern and
ensure security of electoral materials and personnel in the rescheduled elections and the forthcoming gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.

It urged the security agencies to continue to maintain political neutrality and impartiality in election operations.
“Arrest and prosecute all cases of political violence, including attacks and snatching of ballot boxes and materials.
Manage and contain using human rights based approaches, case of post-election violence and ensure the protection of lives and properties as we enter into a critical period in the electoral process.”

The National Human Rights Commission appealed to all Nigerians to remain calm, patriotic and loyal to the laws of Nigeria. Nigerians should eschew violence of all kinds and see the elections as a contest that will produce winners and losers.

We also call on Nigerians to repeat the huge turnout for the governorship and House of Assembly elections.

The National Human Rights Commission calls on all politicians, traditional and religious leaders and citizens to eschew hate speeches, incitement to violence and divisive rhetoric in this critical moment of the transition programme.

“The NHRC will invoke its protective mandate to hold any Nigerian no matter his or her status in the society accountable for any violence or threat of violence that erupts as a result of their speeches, incitements and reckless statements

NHRC said that the personnel of law enforcement agents who were deployed for the election to ensure a peaceful election was commendable.However, the Commission notes:
“The inability of law enforcement and security agents to stop violence at polling units.
“Cases of human rights violations attributed to security agents including the use of force and extra-judicial killings.
Crowd control: It was reported that in some polling units, the crowd was overwhelming and the security personnel were few in number.