from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – VIOLENCE perpetrated youth, allegedly sponsored by politicians, has gripped Nigeria ahead of a legislative election south of the country.
The polls are set for Friday in the Edo State where the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the rival People’s Democratic Party (PDP) will face off.
Human rights group, Amnesty International, said it had received disturbing reports of violence by the political class and the use of young people to perpetuate these acts.
Osai Ojigho, local director of Amnesty, said the potential turmoil being stirred up by various factions ahead of the election should send a signal to the Nigerian authorities of the imminent violence ahead of the polls.
“The government must take active steps to prevent a bloody poll,” Ojigho said.
The activist appealed to the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to protect people from violence and ensure the full respect for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association before, during and after the Edo upcoming election and subsequent polls in other states.
“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.”
The West African country, which has the biggest population in the continent (estimated at 200 million people), has a history of controversial polls.
Buhari, in power since 2015, was re-elected last year in a poll marred by accusations of ballot box snatching, impersonation, violence and vote-trading.
– CAJ News