The general elections are still six weeks away, but The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) says at least 58 people have already been killed in violence fueled by political differences in 22 states from Dec. 3, 2014 to date.
Chairman, Governing Council of the Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, revealed on Friday in Abuja while representing a report entitled; ‘’Pre-election Report and Advisory on Violence in Nigeria’s 2015 General Elections’’.
According to him, within 50 days from Dec. 3, 2014, the commission had confirmed 61 incidences of election violence with the majority of the cases recorded in three key economic and politically significant states.
“In Lagos, we have tracked at least 11 incidences producing 22 dead people for each incident, an average of 2 people killed over a span of just 52 days,” he said.
“In Kaduna State, we have three incidents and nine killings; Rivers has six incidents, including the detonation of explosives and attacks on courts.”
“This degree of pre-election violence is unacceptable, we have seen too much blood and this must be stopped,” Odinkalu said.
He noted that if this continues, it will lead the country into more trouble. He describes the release as more than a report, but an advisory because it calls on all the leaders to rise to the challenge.
He said the political leaders must send a message to their supporters that the forthcoming election was not a call to battle but a contest between brothers and sisters.
“On March 28 and April 11, Nigeria will for the 5th time in 16 years and the 8th time since independence in 1960, undertake the closest and most competitive election in its 54-year history.
“This is an advisory addressed to Nigeria’s leaders, politicians, communities, citizens and friends. It explains why the country must turn the page on a long and worsening history of election violence,’’ the NHRC’s governing council chairman said.
Having received 10 petitions for adjudication in relation to election-related violence, Odinkalu said that the commission had established an Election Violence incidence Centre (EVIC) to enable it collate information on election violence and seek intervention where necessary or ensure accountability.
He said the commission will not hesitate to mention the names of anybody found instigating or perpetrating electoral violence.