February, 2015 Elections: CEHRD Cautions Politicians Against Violence

‘’The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) condemns in strong term the widespread electoral violence- attacks and reprisal attacks,  inflammatory statements  in Nigeria ahead of the February general elections (of recent are the two pre-election violence where campaign Vehicles, Buildings and valuable properties worth millions of naira, belonging to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) were damaged in Jos and Port-Harcourt respectively). We vehemently condemn this politics of violence and calumny as it can only portend danger in the coming weeks. As we hope that INEC will conduct a free and fair election come February 14 and 28, 2015, we affirm that the political parties, their wards and different actors involved must stop this wanton display of violence, and rather embrace peace in support of the work of the commission,’’ .

‘CEHRD calls on politicians to abide by the Wednesday, 14 January 2015 Abuja Peace Accord where 14 political parties including the APC  and PDP presidential candidates were among others who signed against political violence with such agreements subsequently signed in the states. We want to remind political party leaders, party supporters and well-meaning Nigerians, that politics is a means of enthroning custodians of the people’s common wealth, for the overall benefit of all. As such it should be played with every sense of decorum devoid of religious, ethnic and all forms of primordial sentiments.     

With the heightened political atmosphere, permutations, recent happenings and nationwide campaigns, we urge all Civil Society Organisations and the media to maintain the necessary neutrality and work towards the actualization of the Abuja Accord and other non-violence electoral peace acts towards achieving a peaceful and free and fair poll. The media and the CSOs should not be perceived as supporting a particular candidate or political party as this will only heat up the polity and spell doom for our nation, CEHRD said.

CEHRD advises that all rallies be held at a specified venue so that the police and other security agencies can provide adequate security before and after such gatherings. Party supporters should avoid clashing in the streets to trigger violence. All campaign must be done within the ambits of the law as the law prohibits the use of inflammatory languages and provocative actions or manifestation that can incite violence against another party or candidate. All must join hands to make this election a peaceful one and probably the best Nigeria will experience till date.

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