*Says Prosecution Awaits El-Rufai, Others
By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered Governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, to retract his “body bags” statement, given the dangerous signals it has sent to foreigners and Nigerians.
Further NHRC said it would invoke the weight of the legal instruments within its mandate against El-Rufai and any other persons who may indulge in such hateful statements in the name of politics
El-Rufai had in a live programme by the NTA, a national television, threatened that foreigners who come to interfere in the forthcoming elections would go back in body bags.
The Commission condemned the statement as “highly unacceptable and should be condemned by all and sundry.”
In a statement by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Tony Ojukwu, the Commission called on politicians to refrain from acts capable of instigating violence ahead of the election.
It therefore advises all persons in authority as well as members of the public to refrain from making any careless statement that can incite or encourage innocent Nigerians to violence thereby violating the right to vote and participate in governance in a peaceful environment.
The statement signed by the Director, Corporate Affairs & External Linkages Department, Lambert Oparah, the Commission indicated that it is monitoring and recording all forms of hate and dangerous speeches as well as election violence, and documenting same for purpose of bringing the perpetrators to book.
The Executive Secretary urged the International observer groups in Nigeria not to be dissuaded from carrying out their official responsibility in the forth coming elections.
All perpetrators of hate speech and election violence will be recommended for prosecution by the Commission.
The Commission called on the various law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant and ensure that they nip in the bud any tendency of electoral violence before, during and after the 2019 general elections, while maintaining neutrality in their official duties.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has disassociated itself from the activities of a group known as ‘Nigerian Human Rights Community’ with the acronym “NHRC”.
The Commission said at the weekend that it has been inundated by inquiries from members of the public after the group addressed a press conference in Lagos during the week backing one of the political parties.
“The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a national institution for the promotion, protection and enforcement of human rights and has no political affiliation.
“The use of the acronym NHRC is misleading and the Commission will take necessary legal measures to address the anomaly.
“We urge Nigerians to ignore the mischievous attempt to mislead anyone into believing that the acronym used in this instance refers to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)”, it stated.