HURIWA Condemns Election Related Violence

*condemns harassment of Labour party prospective voters in Rivers State:

Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has condemned as despicable, reprehensible, and totally unacceptable, the massive attacks by armed thugs that targeted non Indigenous voters in Oshodi, and parts of Itire areas of Lagos State just as the Rights group accused the armed security forces of compromise and being bribed by the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State to look the other way and let armed thugs working for the All Progressives Congress Presidential candidate allegedly to destroy polling centres dominated by largely Igbo Speaking Lagosians.

Quoting reports from credible eye witnesses, HURIWA recalled that scores of armed thugs besieged some polling units in the Oshodi and Itire areas of Lagos, setting some ballot papers and boxes on fire. The thugs who were all dressed in black and masked, arrived the area around 11.30 am on Saturday.

The Rights group stated that some voters, who could not run away when the thugs arrived were injured even as the armed thugs, later went round the area, minutes after some security personnel on election duty left their duty post.

“HURIWA is indeed shocked and absolutely disappointed that even when there were early warnings issued about these impending cases of violent attacks of Igbo voters in Lagos including a well reported call by this group to the Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police Force, the armed forces of Nigeria to take preemptive steps to stop the plotters who were stockpiling weapons to attack Igbo voters but these security agents actually got bribed not to act in line with the dictates of the law but allowed partisan armed thugs to gave a field day attacking Igbo voters and destroying voting materials provided for the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission. This is clearly a well coordinated plot from the highest quarters to deny Igbos in Lagos of their civil, political rights to vote as guaranteed under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 as amended.”

HURIWA quoted an eye witness Tajudeen Haruna as saying that minutes later, the thugs opened fire and scared voters away just as he gave further clarification thus:
“It was later that the thugs set the ballot box and some materials on fire,” he said.

Similarly, some thugs stormed Itire area, around 12pm, scaring away voters from the different polling units in the area.
James Nwoke, alleged that it was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise non-indigenes in the state.

HURIWA said it was suspicious that although there was heavy military and police presence within the Lagos metropolis on Saturday to forestall breakdown of law and order, but apparently couldn’t protect voters in the Oshodi and Itire areas of Lagos State.

HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko also condemned the killing during the election on February 25th of
at least two people who were killed during electoral violence in Ndi Agwu community of Abam, Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, Southeast Nigeria.

HURIWA said the media reported that the bloody violence occurred during Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections just as it was gathered that one of the victims, identified as Samuel Arunsi Eze, was allegedly beheaded by a political thug known as Daniel Mgba. One of those involved in the killing has also been killed, according to eyewitnesses.

Relatedly, HURIWA condemned the security forces for masterminding the harassment and intimidation of voters in parts of PortHarcourt who are forced to disclose who they intend to vote for. “Eye witnesses have called in to say that in Rumiigbo to be specific that they met security officers from the police who were asking would be voters whom they want to vote for before letting them to vote and if those accredited voters disclose that they are voting for Peter Obi of Labour party, they are denied the opportunity to cast their votes. HURIWA said it is so unfortunate that the security forces in Rivers have become so compromised and bought over by the state government so much so that they are actually behaving like political thugs.

HURIWA whilst condemning all election day related killings, recalled that Nigeria recorded 339 incidents of election violence in 2022, which was disclosed by the Kimpact Development Initiative, a nongovernmental organisation working to advance good governance and democratic rights, said. The organisation said 165 people lost their lives as a result of political violence.

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