The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has charged the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other law enforcement and agencies to arrest and prosecute electoral law offenders.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, made the recommendation while addressing a news conference on the preliminary findings of last Saturday’s election.
He said preliminary findings from the commission’s field monitors and Human Rights Situation Room provided an important snapshot of the human rights situation during the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
According to him, the commission will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information are made available.
He called on relevant authorities to take necessary actions to address the issues raised in the report to ensure that future elections are free, fair, and peaceful.
“The police should arrest and prosecute all verified cases of political violence including attacks and snatching of ballot boxes and materials.
“The police should also deploy human rights-based approaches in managing cases of post–election violence and ensure the protection of lives and properties as we conclude the 2023 electoral circle.
“All law enforcement and security agents in the remaining unconcluded ongoing elections maintain political neutrality and impartiality in the election operations.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in conducting future off-cycle elections, should continue to ensure transparency and integrity in the electoral processes,” he said.
He noted that there was violence in some polling units, attacks on INEC officials, on journalists, ballot box snatching, voter suppression and vote buying.
“The commission received with great concern, the attack on the ARISE News crew at Elegushi Palace. We call on law enforcement to investigate these and other incidents of violence and bring the perpetrators to book.
“The commission also received reports of the killing of alleged thugs in Lagos, Katsina and Benue states, Labour Party agents in Lagos. Elections are not war and no life should be lost in the process of elections,” he said.
Answering questions from the newsmen on inciting utterances by some politicians which went viral, Ojukwu said the commission will invite those indicted.
Election was held in 28 states while the state Houses of Assembly were held in all the 36 states of the Federation excluding the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).