Amnesty International on Friday urged Nigerian authorities to fulfil their obligation to promote, protect, respect, and fulfil human rights amid disturbing signs of violence ahead of the Edo State gubernatorial election.
The international human rights watchdog said it had received disturbing reports of violence by the political class and the unfortunate use of young people to perpetrate these reprehensible acts.
According to it, “Government must protect people from violence and ensure the full respect for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association before, during and after the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election and subsequent elections in other states of the federation.
“The potential turmoil being stirred up by various factions ahead of the gubernatorial election in Edo State should send a clear signal to the Nigerian authorities of the imminent violence ahead of the polls and government must take active steps to prevent a bloody poll.” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria.
“Fueling the instability and impunity in the state, are reports of supporters of some politicians violently targeting political opponents, real or perceived.
“The authorities must stamp out any potential impunity by ensuring these incidents are investigated and those suspected to be responsible, brought to justice.”
The Global rights watchdog said it was closely monitoring happenings in Edo state, stressing that political parties and candidates must publicly condemn any advocacy of hatred or incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.
“The authorities must put measures in place to ensure politicians and their supporters do not infringe on human rights. They must announce clearly that there is zero-tolerance for human rights violations and that anyone suspected of wrongdoing will be brought to justice,” said Osai Ojigho.
He added: “The authorities must also ensure that journalists, international and national civil society groups and agencies that will monitor the elections are able to do so in safety.”