The leading Rights Advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has applauded the United States and United Kingdom’s embassies for the concrete steps they have adopted to help Nigerians clean up our electoral system.
Besides, the Rights group has specifically urged the UK and US embassies to follow through with their threats to impose visa ban on the electoral officials if the weekend’s ONDO state governorship election is undermined just as the rights group condemned the police for failing to arrest and charge to court the hoodlums in ONDO responsible for the spate of inter-party violence that rocked the campaigns for the Saturday’s poll.
“It would seem that those who were involved in the different armed attacks targeting candidates of All progressive congress (APC) , People’s Democratic Party and zenith Labour Party are persons above the law of the land ; why have no one been persecuted? This impunity is the reason violence against citizens from all kinds of non state actors have continued. The Ondo state police command must be tasked to arrest and prosecute all political thugs because nobody is above the law of the land”.
HURIWA recalled that the United Kingdom had warned of imposing sanctions, including visa ban and asset seizure, on Nigerians who incite or execute violence in the Edo and Ondo governorship elections.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said in a statement on Tuesday that the UK greatly values the Nigerian democracy and thus will not condone any violent act that may undermine the democratic process in the coming elections.
“As a friend and partner of Nigeria we are closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively.
“These elections are important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions,” the statement read.
HURIWA recalled that the warning came days after the United States government announced it is imposing visa restrictions on some Nigerians undermining the electoral processes in the run-up to the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states.
Ms Laing said the UK would deploy observers to the two states to monitor the elections.
The British High Commissioner who met leaders of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday reminded the politicians that apart from their asset being seized in the UK, they could experience a worst case scenario of prosecution.
“The UK takes a strong stand against election-related violence and, just as we did in the general election in 2019, will continue to take action against individuals we identify as being responsible for violence during the elections.
“This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under international law,” the statement said.
The warning comes a day after the United States issued a similar statement, announcing visa restrictions on some politicians it said orchestrated violence and rigging during the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states jusy as the British High Commissioner also spoke on the peace accord recently signed by both political parties and urged INEC and security agents to ensure peaceful and fair elections saying thus: “We urge INEC, the Police and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”
“HURIWA hereby appeals to young voters in ONDO state never to accept to be lured into becoming political thugs in ONDO state for any politician because their future should be uppermost in their minds and in their calculations. The youth who are approached to take up arms for politicians should ask the politicians to bring their own biological children and to stop attempting to destroy their future. The youths must take responsibility to ensure peaceful election in ONDO because a peaceful ONDO ensures prosperity for them”.