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Bayelsa Polls: Group Writes NHRC, Seeks Probe of APC’s Use of Federal Might

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A civil rights organisation, Constitutional Rights and Peoples Development Advocacy Initiative, has asked the National Human Rights Commission, to investigate the alleged gross abuse of federal might by the All Progressives Congress (APC), during the inconclusive governorship election in bayelsa State.

The CRPDAI in a petition filed by its Administrative Secretary, Emmanuel Christopher, and obtained by journalists on Sunday demanded that the NHRC should “thoroughly investigate the allegations of violence, especially the role of pro-APC military men to perpetrate violence and disenfranchise the ordinary electorate. We believe that such acts of criminality perpetrated by any person, a political Party or uniformed men must be investigated and the culprits brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.”

The petition dated January 1 2015, was copied to the Inspector-General of Police; Director-General, Department of State Services; APC National Chairman; People’s Democratic Party National Chairman; Governor of Bayelsa State, Henry Seriake Dickson and APC Governorship candidate, Mr. Timipre Sylva.

Details Below…

SIGNED COPY OF THE PETITION TO INVESTIGATE CASES OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND GROSS ABUSE OF POWER BY THE APC IN BAYELSA STATE
CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND PEOPLES DEVELOPMENT ADVOCACY INITIATIVE
306 Melford Okilo Road, Yenagoa – Bayelsa State
corights_2010peoplesdevadvocacy

January 1st, 2016

The Director General,
National Human Rights Commission,
19th Aguiyi Ironsi Street,
Maitama-PMB 444
Garki-Abuja-Nigeria

Dear Director General,
PETITION TO INVESTIGATE CASES OF ELECTORAL VIOLENCE, FRAUD AND GROSS ABUSE OF POWER BY THE APC IN BAYELSA STATE
We the members of the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND PEOPLES DEVELOPMENT ADVOCACY INITIATIVE (CRPDAI) hereby petition your highly esteemed Commission to help fight for the redress of violation of the rights of Bayelsans in the December 5/6th Governorship elections. We are aware that the Commission serves as an extra-judicial mechanism for the enhancement of the enjoyment of human rights. Its establishment is aimed at creating an enabling environment for the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights. It monitors human rights in Nigeria, assists victims of human rights violations, and helps in the formulation of the Nigerian Government’s policies on human rights.

On the strength of the aforementioned, we wish to inform your reputable Commission that the governorship election that took place in Dec. 5th and 6th 2015 witnessed an orgy of violence perpetrated by the APC Candidate Mr. Timipre Sylva, with the connivance of some security forces loyal to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Chief of Defense Staff- both of who have had a long standing relationship with Timipre Sylva. Whereas the Peoples Democratic Party considered the election as a civil matter where the electorate were to discharge their civic responsibility, the All Progressive Congress unleashed terror on PDP supporters molesting and shooting sporadically, snatching of electoral materials especially in PDP strongholds. This was accompanied by ballot snatching, intimidation of INEC officials, shooting and maiming. PDP officials that dared to resist were shot and a few persons were killed.

It was because of the unprecedented violence and brigandage that the Independent National Electoral Commission, cancelled and rescheduled the governorship elections in Southern/Ijaw LGA and 104 units for January 9th, 2016. Now, the APC has been holding series of meeting with ex-combatants (militants) in the Region to re-enact the same orgy of violence with even graver intensity. (Vide: Some pictures of the dead and injured attached herewith). Such crimes verging on human rights violation may repeat themselves if not investigated, reported and the culprits brought to book. We hold that being a member of a particular political Party is not a morality car wash that exonerates one from the sins of violence, thuggery and killing under the rubrics of elections.

OUR SUBMISSION

  1. That we believe that the loss of life or maiming of any person before, during and after elections is a huge loss to the nation and negatives the norms of democratic governance. We posit that only a peaceful, free, fair and credible election can enable the electorate to exercise their franchise and enthrone good governance.

    2.    That we hold tenaciously to the fact that violence or thuggery of any form or manifestation is a violation of the civic rights of the electorate and that the ballot box is the best way of choosing leaders, not by violence,  military force or brigandage.

    3.    That our modest demand is for the National Human Rights Commission to thoroughly investigate the allegations of violence, especially the role of pro-APC military men to perpetrate violence and disenfranchise the ordinary electorate. We believe that such acts of criminality perpetrated by any person, a political Party or uniformed men must be investigated and the culprits brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.

    4.    That the Inspector General of Police should arrest electoral offenders and prosecute the culprits, as this would serve as a deterrent to others. Violence accompanied by the use of lethal weapons, thuggery and brigandage are inimical to the growth and development of democratic institutions and by extension dwarfts national development.

    5.    We earnestly demand that in the rescheduled elections taking place in Bayelsa State on January 9th, 2016, we call for the presence of Rights Groups such as the NHRC, and other local and International Election observers to be on ground to see things for themselves and to ensure free, fair an peaceful elections.

    CONCLUSION

As a nation, we have endeavoured, for the past 16 years, to build our democratic institutions. We have also embarked on reforms to strengthen those institutions and it is too late to allow the hitherto prevalent “business-as-usual scenario to rubbish the gains we have made so far. We should not also allow any person or group of persons to desecrate those institutions we have labored very hard to build.

For democracy to take root, the democratic election of leaders is a major plank on which other ingredients of the rule of law stand.  The derailment of our electoral process means a depletion of the moral and psychological gains we have made in the past years. With reputable Commissions like the NHRC, our democracy cannot tow the path of slippery slope of failure. We are ready to provide evidence (video, photo and verbal evidences especially from the victims of the electoral mayhem in Bayelsa State.

Thank you for standing up to defend the ordinary Nigerian who is oppressed, whose fundamental rights are violated, who is intimidated, molested, and killed and buried with chains of oppression hanging on their feeble necks.

Faithfully,

Signed
Emmanuel Christopher

Administrative Secretary
CC:
1.    The Chairman, INEC
Abuja.

2.    The Inspector General of Police
Louis Edet House-Abuja.

3.    The Director SSS,
Abuja.

4.    The National Chairman,
All Progressive Congress

5.    The National Chairman
Peoples Democratic Party

6.    Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State
Creek Haven – Yenagoa

7.    Mr. Timipre Sylva
Governorship Candidate, APC

8.    The Media

 

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