Violence may mar Edo election if Buhari govt fails to take active steps – Amnesty International

Amnesty International, a non-governmental organisation focused on human rights, has expressed concerns over the perceived threats to human rights and ideal electoral process ahead of the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, the group called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to weigh in and salvage the situation before it mars the entire election process.

Reports of violence, hate speech and threat to lives and properties have continued to emanate from Edo state ahead of its September 19 governorship race.

The election, believed to be a major contest between the candidate national ruling APC, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, and that of main opposition PDP, have continued to portend threats to the peaceful co-existence of electorates.

Deducing from these facts, the organisation’s country director, Osai Ojigho, noted that the laxity of the government and justice system against those encouraging violence at this pre-election period in the state is a signal to what might happen on the election day and afterwards.

“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.

“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,” he said.

Mr Ojigho urged the government to put in place strict punishments against politicians and their supporters who infringe on human rights and “ensure that journalists, international and national civil society groups and agencies that will monitor the elections are able to do so in safety.”