By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu OFR, SAN has on Friday launched a Human Rights Situation Room to address cases of human rights violations and other forms of electoral infractions that may occur before during, and after the 2023 general elections.
According to the human rights Commission’s Boss, the Human Rights Situation Room is a hub inside the Commission which will enable the Commission to monitor the conduct of elections across the 36 States of the Federation.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria said the focus of the Situation Room will be to report human rights issues around the elections, for instance monitoring closely the activities of law enforcement and security agencies during the elections, adding that the law enforcement agencies have the responsibility to protect the security of voters when they cast their votes, including protecting voter access and participation.
While assuring Nigerians that the Commission will not leave any stone unturned in addressing the issues raised by voters all over the Country, the Chief Human Rights Officer is also using this opportunity to call on eligible voters to confidently go out and exercise their fundamental right to vote. “Ours is a participatory democracy and Nigerians should participate and take an active role in deciding their future “he added.
The human rights situation room is equipped with toll-free lines and shortcodes, 08006472428 and 6472 for easy and cost-free access to complaints by members of the public.
Chief Tony Ojukwu noted that free and fair elections are key tenets of a democratic system of governance saying, “The right to participate in the governance process including the right to vote and to stand for elections is central to a democracy”.
“Every person has the right to vote and be voted for and should enjoy the right to equality and non-discrimination irrespective of any ethnic, tribal or political differences during the entire process without intimidation” he admonished.
The NHRC also used the occasion to issue various Statutory Guidelines on the Role of Law Enforcement and Security Agencies in the Protection of Voters’ Access and Participation in Elections. This is aimed at protecting the rights of Nigerians, particularly vulnerable groups, during and after the elections.