The Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu as well as heads of other security agencies in the country to closely monitor emerging political trends in Edo State and put measures in place to forestall a bloody poll, before, during and after September 19.
Candidate of PPN in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, Mr. John Darlington Iyoha, who spoke to journalists in Benin City on Wednesday, said “the call became necessary as several stakeholders have raised concerns about a violent poll in the state.”
Iyoha further said: “This afternoon, I saw a report by Amnesty International on this same subject matter. In the report, the human right-focused organisation noted that there is potential for violence in the forthcoming election and urged relevant authorities to ensure the election is devoid of violence.”
He further said that “there was sufficient basis for the conclusions reached by Amnesty International in its report, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been spreading hate campaigns and threatening to unleash violence on Edo voters.”
According to him, “A case in point is the video of Osagie Ize-Iyamu, candidate of the APC, calling the party’s thugs ‘dangerous lions and tigers’, and urging them to move from one ward and local government to the other to cause crisis.
“And as if that was not enough, there are reports of attacks on the convoy of the standard bearer of the PDP and governor of the state, Mr Godwin Obaseki. So I am calling on the president and heads of the security agencies to arrest those behind these illegal activities to send a strong message to other persons planning to cause trouble, before, during or after the poll.”
Country Director of Amnesty International, Osai Ojigho, in the report, said: “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.”
Ojigho urged: “Government must protect people from violence and ensure the full respect for freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association before, during and after the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election and subsequent elections in other states of the federation.
“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.”
“While Amnesty International closely monitors happenings in Edo State, political parties and candidates must publicly condemn any advocacy of hatred or incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”
The organisation stressed that: “The authorities must put measures in place to ensure politicians and their supporters do not infringe on human rights. They must announce clearly that there is zero-tolerance for human rights violations and that anyone suspected of wrongdoing will be brought to justice.
“The authorities must also ensure that journalists, international and national civil society groups and agencies that will monitor the elections are able to do so in safety.”