By Lambert Oparah, Director, Corporate Affairs & External Linkages Department, NHRC
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned in strong terms the statement credited to the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, warning that foreigners who interfere with the forthcoming election will go back in ‘body bags’.
In a statement by the Executive Secretary of the Commission Tony Ojukwu Esq. Friday, the Commission called on politicians to refrain from acts capable of instigating violence ahead of the election.
According to the Commission, the Kaduna State Governor’s statement was highly unacceptable and should be condemned by all and sundry.
The Commission calls on the governor to retract the statement in the light of the dangerous signal it could send to both Nigerians and foreigners alike. It therefore advises all persons in authority as well as members of the public to refrain from making any careless statement that can incite or encourage innocent Nigerians to violence thereby violating the right to vote and participate in governance in a peaceful environment.
The Commission stated that it will invoke the weight of the legal instruments within its mandate on the governor and any other persons who may indulge in such hateful statements in the name of politics.
The Commission is monitoring and recording all forms of hate and dangerous speeches as well as election violence, and documenting same for purpose of bringing the perpetrators to book.
The Executive Secretary urged the International observer groups in Nigeria not to be dissuaded from carrying out their official responsibility in the forth coming elections. All perpetrators of hate speech and election violence will be recommended for prosecution by the Commission.
The Commission called on the various law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant and ensure that they nip in the bud any tendency of electoral violence before, during and after the 2019 general elections, while maintaining neutrality in their official duties.